Pennant penitent and haggard,

Burnished by salted inland air,

He rides the shouting bore of whispered slings,

Pliant voiceless muse: the Cossack king.


Seemingly flits from light to death:

From rimy shadow to hot hearth.

Iron hard in exile and denied,

To bright exalted martyr for a bride.


Sparkling, his breast reflects the

Darkling forests, sweet faces and

Cunning history which snakes and retracts.

He slumps and stands both serf and cataphract.


Scintillating and unsure through

Flashing snow or dew he runs or writhes.

His name sullied and bloodied,

Into the grooved earth buried.


A brutal exchange of hours and miles

Awkwardly spectated and gamed,

He awkwardly looks along his line in hope,

To only glory; no pardon or escape.


Racked back and forth and back he turns,

Buffeted by romance and sullen wrinkling cataract,

He winds up his reins, head rolling, hands quaking:

The old land shudders at his passing; shaking.