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  • By Gleb Zavlanov

He Shudders Too


The heavens darken with a thousand crows.

Flags ripple in the wind’s lamenting sighs.

Smoke hovers ghostlike over fallen foes

Blotched over with aroused and feasting flies.

The ugly spectacle smirks back at me:

Another splendidly conducted fight.

Still, one remaining enemy runs free,

An arrogant contester of my might:

Though millions may kneel to me, I lack

True martial honor if I don’t subdue

This one my polished saber shimmers back.

It’s onI shudder, and he shudders too.


Gleb Zavlanov is a poet based in New York City.

11 Comments


martinmccarthy1956
martinmccarthy1956
Nov 25, 2023

Here, in a few sublimely well-crafted lines, we are given a vivid vision of old-fashioned warfare - its carnage, its ugliness, and two heroic shuddering participants who face-off alone against each other amid the feasting flies and corpses. This is a long way from the sanitized, surgical missile strikes of today, and unshuddering leaders and generals who lead from the safety of their nuclear shelters. Well done, Gleb, for saying so much about 'martial honor' by leaving so much unsaid. Sublime and unforgettable.

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glebzavlanov
Dec 27, 2023
Replying to

Thank you for reading! I am happy you liked it.


-Gleb

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ajsedia
Nov 18, 2023

I'm so glad to see your work reappear here, Gleb. I wondered what had happened in your absence, but I was happily delighted with another work. This has all the hallmarks of what makes your poetry so compelling: vivid description, accessibility with just enough elusiveness to add mystery, and a contemporary tone that doesn't sound like it strains itself to sound contemporary. I found the use of "it's on" here both amusing and well used. A wonderful work!

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glebzavlanov
Dec 27, 2023
Replying to

Very nice to hear from you, Mr. Sedia! Thank you for the comments.

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winestone.poet
Nov 07, 2023

This poem is excellent! Gleb Zavlanov’s use of imagery here is very powerful, allowing the reader to clearly envision everything in the mind’s eye. I especially love how he begins the poem, already setting the stage for the grim scene that unfolds:


The heavens darken with a thousand crows.

Flags ripple in the wind’s lamenting sighs.


I think these lines are spectacular!


- Shannon

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winestone.poet
Dec 16, 2023
Replying to

You’re welcome, Martin. I’m glad you ended up reading it.

- Shannon

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