Thursday, March 21, 2024

Ana Karenina steps under an oncoming train to her death. From Tolstoy’s Novel of the same name….

Ana Karenina steps under an oncoming train to her death. 

From Tolstoy’s Novel of the same name…. 



The eyes the eyes 

all those eyes -

staring blankly through

me as though not reviled

but worse - invisible  

Impossible - 

Once inconceivable 

His eyes – Those eyes

that flashed capturing

the world in each 

indelible look and now

“What am I doing?’

Recall, the worker – 

that worker crushed 

under wheels as we 

and they watched so 

long ago, long before 

we danced, or loved, 

or fell together in hell

or heaven wrought 

passion that eclipsed all

passion unstoppable

blazing in consummated

conflagration into love

Love, that lit the universe of

my soul and held me

wiling captive – so long

So long ago signifier worker fell

in sacrificial warning supreme  

Writ  this time – of death

in his blood 

As I step from this 

platform of misery alone

the familiar rush, push

Whoosh of the train 

The gentle train, the

vehicle of my love, my life

Step from this platform and

Into the arms of death as the

worker beckoned – leap finally

to be free -I step this final step 

and in the shimmer of mysticism

In the foretelling of engine smoke, 

the veil lifts ironically clears

and I already falling - fall in 

abject clarity exposing me 

to myself -prisoner of irrevocable 

action once again …

too late to reverse the running wheels…


“Where am I?”

“What am I doing?”

“What for” 



  1. Oh boy. Elegantly done, Pearl. I read AK many years ago and the ending just broke me. I have only ever read three novels whose endings did that; AK, Notre Dame de Paris, and one by Sylvia Brownrigg called "Pages For You." Oddly, 2 of those 3 are full of chaff, Tolstoy and Hugo both digressing from their story to muse upon farming or architecture or other some such thing that didn't further the plot at all. Nevertheless, I am so glad that I stuck with them and read them because the story in each is magnificent and heartbreaking. Like your poem.

  2. Oooh thank you and looking forward to reading yours! I agree (obviously) with the AK ending ... stayed with me (and apparently you) for a life-time!

  3. Pearl, this is a masterpiece. I haven't read Ana Karenina, but the aspects of the plot you shared give me an idea of the theme. The intensity of the ending was glorious, rich, and left me gasping!

  4. "Love, that lit the universe of
    my soul and held me
    wiling captive . . ." And the eyes! O their eyes, his eyes, her eyes seeing as she approaches her death, and her realizing once again she is willing captive--I am totally moved by this snapshot of the moment. Brilliant!

  5. I read this book when I was young, when real love resulting in tragedy seemed the height of romance. It had a huge impact on me, though I could never understand her abandoning her child. Your poem tells the story so well.

  6. This was such a brilliant novel...I read it years ago and now your poem makes me want to read it all over again. You've brought that scene to life.

  7. Pearl,
    Such a sad scene retold with only the kind of emotional detail that the victim could share...I often think of those very emotions and the final act of falling, when there are instances at our local train station, especially those powerful moments when there are witnesses present...
    You have truly captured the whole scenario...

  8. this is great and so vivid - I especially like the line - the foretelling of engine smoke, - that really captures the feeling in this. Well done.

  9. You've made Anna's last moments very much alive with her impetuous passions. A character in action indeed! Wonderful, Pearl.