Leo Yankevich passed away in December 2018. This poem was submitted by Sally Cook.

Crows and leaves beyond the windowpane,
a cup of steaming coffee on the stool,
my lines reflected in your eyes, which strain
in light as mine once did, the feel of wool
that keeps our stomachs, chests, and shoulders warm
unite us, you now, I who came before.
You wonder how I lived, and ask what harm
beset my age? Floods, earthquakes, famine, war.
Pain transcends the centuries is all
that I can say in speech that has no tenses.
My words part oaks and fly beyond a wall.
They are lamplight reflected in our lenses,
the taste of coffee, cawing in the fall,
the language of the five immortal senses.

 

 

Leo Yankevich’s latest books are The Last Silesian (The Mandrake Press, 2005) Tikkun Olam & Other Poems (Second Expanded Edition), (Counter-Currents Publishing, 2012), Journey Late at Night: Poems & Translations (Counter-Currents Publishing, 2013) & The Hypocrisies of Heaven: Poems New & Old (Counter-Currents Publishing, 2016).  


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12 Responses

  1. Joseph S. Salemi

    God bless you and keep you, Leo. Your talent was too coruscating for the world of literary slugs and worms who were your enemies.

    Reply
    • Sally Cook

      Leo —
      Thank you for seeing the inestimable value of Leo’s work. There have been poets who change you with their work; Leo was one.
      As I believe I said elsewhere on the SCP site, I once asked Leo Y. “What was your crime?” His response: “I was too good.”
      That is the world we live in today; a world where the meaningless is declared excellent, and excellence is decried.

      Reply
  2. Joseph S. Salemi

    For our readers’ information: There is a commemorative poem on Leo Yankevich at Counter Currents Publishing website, written by the poet Juleigh Howard-Hobson. It’s the fifth essay down from the top if you scroll.

    There is a last photo of Leo, and the dates of his birth and death.

    Reply
    • James A. Tweedie

      Dr. Salemi,

      Thank you for the referral to Counter Currents. The visit was more than worth the effort. The tribute poem was deeply moving. As I wrote in a recent SCP post,

      ““How quickly earthly treasures turn to rust;
      “And memories and lifetimes fade away.
      “Remember us,” they beg with pleading eyes.
      “For everything that is forgotten dies.”

      I do not think that Leo Yankevich will be forgotten any time soon, and
      I am grateful for those who are keeping his memory and poetry alive.

      Reply
  3. C.B. Anderson

    Sally, where did you unearth this poem? I would be surprised if someone told me there wasn’t a file somewhere in Poland containing more of his unpublished work. Oh, and has anyone else noticed that THE PENNSYLVANIA REVIEW website has once more been suspended? If it’s just a matter of paying some fees, I think that many persons would be willing to contribute to its upkeep.

    Reply
    • Sally Cook

      Yes, Kip — Very happy to know you found Leo’s poem to your liking.
      I would certainly be one of many who would contribute both work and money to keep the PA Review site going, but I believe it is a technological glitch which keeps it locked. Leo was so much a part of our part of the poetry world — there must be a way! Any computer experts out there with ideas?

      Reply
  4. Joseph S. Salemi

    Both The Pennsylvania Review and my website for the magazine TRINACRIA were suspended for political reasons. It was not a question of money. Both websites (which were run by Leo Yankevich) were paid up in full.

    The server suspended them because of a coordinated attack of complaints from liberal-leftist poets and their sympathizers. I tried for weeks to get in touch with the persons at the server who deal with fees and such matters, and I was consistently denied any chance to speak with anyone. I received only meaningless, pro forma answers to my many e-mail inquiries. The only straight answer I got was that they would not accept any payments from me for The Pennsylvania Review, since I was not Leo Yankevich. I told them that he had died, and they said it didn’t matter.

    It’s typical of Leo’s enemies that they waited until his death to pull this vicious, Stalinist stunt. They knew very well that he would have gone after them ruthlessly if they had tried it while he was alive. And since (like those masked vermin in Antifa) they are gutless cowards, they acted as soon as he passed away.

    It’s only a matter of time before these same scum come after the SCP website. It’s high time we realized that, in cultural affairs, we are living in a totalitarian society — one that does not tolerate any seriously expressed dissent.

    What happened to these two websites is what the liberal-left calls “de-platforming,” or “cancelling.” It is considered a virtuous and commendable thing to do. They are trying to do the same thing right now to the Counter Currents website.

    Reply
    • Lannie David Brockstein

      To Joseph S. Salemi,

      Yes, censorship on the Internet has become a real problem for those of us who value Freedom of Speech.

      Thankfully, the newly emerging blockchain technology does provide a real working solution to the unethical practice of de-platforming and other forms of digital censorship, such as shadowbanning.

      Since last year, I’ve been experimenting with some of the different blockchain based decentralized social media platforms that are censorship-resistant, such as the Steem app called Steemit (https://steemit.com/@lanniebrockstein), and Scorum (https://scorum.com/en-us/profile/@lanniebrockstein) which has an “Other” forum where non-sports articles are welcome to be posted, though it is primarily a platform for sports fans.

      Soon to be released is the Voice platform (https://voice.com/) that is based on the EOS blockchain.

      Unlike at Steemit and Scorum, it is not possible for Voice users to have their posts and comments deleted or hidden by Voice or any other Voice user. Similar to Steemit and Scorum, when any post or comment is upvoted by other Voice users, their author will receive Voice cryptocurrency tokens that cannot be withheld from them.

      Unlike at Steemit and Scorum where some of their malicious early adopters whom already have more “Steem Power” or “Scorum Power” than newer users, and that have forced into hiding the posts of newer users, it is not technically possible for that injustice ever to happen at Voice.

      I hope for The Pennsylvania Review, TRINACRIA, and the The Society of Classical Poets to consider migrating to the decentralized Voice platform when it is released, probably later this year or next year.

      Also, I continue to hold out hope for the community at The Society of Classical Poets to face the music in admitting the literary fact that the etymological root of the word “sonnet” is “little song”, as documented in every reputable dictionary, which clearly indicates that sonnets in the classical sense are also meant to be sung, rather than only read or recited. But I digress.

      As for Yankevich’s ‘Sonnet For All Who Follow Me’, its last line reminds me of William Blake’s contrasting view of the senses of us humans as finite, and thus as indicative of our mortality:

      “How do you know but ev’ry Bird that cuts the airy way,
      Is an immense world of delight, clos’d by your senses five?”

      Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      Joseph,

      The situation is much worse than I ever suspected. Ahriman, in all his machinations, has apparently taken control of things. Carbon-based life forms are hard-pressed to deal with the likes of Silicon Valley.

      Reply

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