The Shortest Revolution In History Poem by Alla Bozarth

The Shortest Revolution In History

It began and was over in a single day.
November 7,1917 brought down the Romanoffs
and Russian history of a thousand years.

It raised powers that many fled in disguise. Rachmaninoff left
with his family and no music but a few composition notebooks,
two orchestral scores, his opera Monna Vanna and opera music
of beloved Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, The Golden Cockerel.
A brief concert tour trip, he said to officials, and he took his wife
and two daughters by sled to Helsinki from where the Scandinavian
concert tour lasted a year, and then— New York and California.

So simply he tore away from the holy land of his inspiration—
the wheat fields in summer suffused with sunlight, the bells
on the troikas that still traced the snow, the music that was
in the air of the atmosphere.

We have the horses in America
but not the romance.
We have injustice in America
but not the tyranny.

Either way, before or after,
there was tyranny in Russia, and
romance that turned to tragedy.

I look out on the luscious landscape
of my life, my revolution still underway
after 60 years and not likely to end
until I slip or trip or pop out of time, jump the twig,
leap the rainbow, and wind up in a stranger place of refuge
than ever my mother stepped into, off the boat ~

carrying nothing with her from underground Russia
to New Brunswick and then to New York and California,
to find her freedom and destiny
and the life she gave me.

And so you might say that I, too, am a result
of the Russian Revolution,
set free to live my life in all its peculiar romance
and shape my destiny
with all its prosaic and less peculiar poetry.

This poem is in the book Diamonds in a Stony Field
by Alla Renée Bozarth copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

Alla Bozarth

Alla Bozarth

Portland, Oregon
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