Fiery Rings

Fiery Rings

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.

Concentric circles,
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!
Either direction

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.


 Linking with Form Monday at One Stop – Free Verse, and also for One Shot Wednesday at

This entry was posted in Free Verse, Tribute and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Fiery Rings

  1. Gay says:

    Incredible, meaningful and wondrously done. The poem reads like a song in direct contradiction to what it’s saying. Fascinating as I expect (although I haven’t read the work) it reflects the contradictions of life in the camp. What one is told is happening as opposed to what is actually happening. This is a first rate and powerful piece. Thank you. Well done. Gay

  2. Claudia says:

    i second gay..incredible meaningful…great work and i should check out this book..
    esp. loved..No bridge exists, lest you fall
    and become a black dot. Period.

  3. siubhan says:

    I second Claudia– really like the lines “No bridge exists… …Period.” Clever treatment of a rather bleak plot. Brava.

  4. dustus says:

    Solzhenitsyn was one helluva a novelist. The border-line passage hits pretty hard, in or out. Clever. Wonderfully creative.

  5. Anna says:

    Thank you, dustus, I admire your work as well, and I appreciate you reading and your comments!

  6. jinksy says:

    External club to the internal hub

    Wonderful phrase leaped of the page, but there were many others. 🙂

Thank you for your comments, much appreciated!!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s