Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Stones for Russia
Stones we have, Russia,
Stones to break your teeth,
To batter shut your hunger-widened eyes;
Stones and the silver stab of bayonets,
The skilled jab, the clubbed gun
Of our northern-bred guards: these
We have, Russia. A greeting,
Russia, to you the groper
Struggling out of the pit of centuries,
Uprising from primeval death, groping
To a dazed, uncertain day; a greeting,
Russia, drunken one, drunken with misery-
A greeting with stones!
To you who have known only death till now,
Russia, a welcome to new torture,
To life, to a mad fact of living;
A welcome, Russia, lurching from death's stupidity,
From torpor, into tortured consciousness; welcome
By this western people, stones and the butts of guns.
Which do you wish? Which do you wish,
Russia, death or this resurrection?
Chosen people, chosen from the sad soil
To clasp anguished visions where our bland blindness fails;
Sufferer of earth's anguish, of the profound fate of being,
Finding in primeval murk, in dusky fires, truth.
Truth, mystic Russia, seeing, seeing! Here are stones.
Misery has wrought you, Russia.
Your passion sweeps gigantic darkness
Over our pagan bulbs, our cool illuminations,
Our peace; and wreaks massive terror. Fear
Hurls our stones, Russia.
Dark prophet with unkempt, terrible gesture,
Envisioned folk, exponent of unknown fate,
Where is your truth, truth beyond reason, taught you
By misery, truth unseen to us, feared?
Here are stones, miserable ones,
Stones to quench your misery; brilliant steel,
Delicately strong, cruel. A greeting, Russia!