Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016


Oleg Sentsov: World Cup One-Man Team

in Sports by

In defiance Oleg Sentsov stands,
offering to his Russian captors
the other cheek.
Does he willfully die of hunger,
martyr to Ukraine’s cause,
or will humanity prevail?

“Bloodthirsty dwarf,”
he’s labeled Putin.
Now Ukraine’s true son
champions its integrity
by dangling his life
over the World Cup’s edge:
“Ukraine’s political prisoners
must go free.”

Sentsov already is free,
scoffing at death.
To keep his body on display,
they threaten force-feeding—
Too late: fasting more than 30 days,
he’s cut them off at the knees.
Shall he die? Be released?
How will Putin pass the ball?

World Cup drama is building.
Who might win? Who go down?
All eyes turn to Russia.
A hungering hero stands tall
in the middle of the pitch.



A Siberian prisoner spoils Putin’s extravaganza [New York Times]
G7 envoys ‘deeply concerned’ about jailed Ukranian filmmaker Sentsov [RadioFreeLiberty RadioEurope]
Sentsov has problems with kidney and heart, sent to prison medical unit [Unian]

Darrell Petska‘s writing has appeared in Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Chiron Review, Whirlwind, Star 82 Review, Writers Resist, The Missing Slate, and elsewhere. Darrell worked for many years as communications editor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, leaving finally to focus on his own writing and his family. He lives in Middleton, Wisconsin.

Photograph of Saransk, Russia, a host city for the FIFA World Cup, by Maxence.

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