A ring of concentric circles
where the first is the best of the worst,
the beginning of the end,
the outer edge of smoldering center.
Troops line the circumference wall
of circles filled-in with the latest shade of
Nyet…don’t walk past the circumference border.
radiating from a central doctrine,
clearing “mind fields”,
edging along fiery arcs,
no sonar, no time for strategy
no weapon, save the mind
against red rings of fire
Outermost ring to the innermost tribe
External club to the internal hub
The furthest rung from inner ranks
A dot on the edge that belongs–
only on paper…
papers, full of red dots,
connected by fiery “epic center”.
Don’t walk the path of pi
to the middle.
No bridge exists, lest you fall
and become a black dot. Period.
Cannot pass beyond the circumference border-line!
Do it well, company man, and you’ll be
one step closer to the man in charge of hiring.
Do it wrong, and you’ll be
one stop closer to the prison
This poem is a small tribute to a book I read some years ago which left a lasting impression called The First Circle. Written by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008), it is the story of an intellectual who worked during Stalin’s regime in Russia in a special labor camp. Although the book is fiction, it is also autobiographical of Solzhenitsyn’s own experience. The labor camp, although not favorable, was still the “best of the worst”, hence the title of The First Circle; but also, the title is a reference to Dante’s first circle of hell in the Divine Comedy. Solzhenitsyn survived his ordeal; was a novelist, poet and Nobel prize winner.