Monday, September 7, 2015

7128. 1978 - Three Poems of Russia. 'Ruki Nazad' (which means 'hands behind your back', and was the phrase the Secret Police would use upon apprehending a dissident)

1.  The Russia that I know
     enchants the frozen trees
     until they learn to dance.
     Erect, they split apart their
     unity, encasing all the seasons
     in the bier of ice proclaimed.
     The forest sings the tune,
     along with all the Earth, and
     dances in the melody as well.
     The Russia that I know
     enchants the frozen world
     until all things are dancing.
     Held within its fear is
     quivered man, lest this
     fierce monster should arise.
     (Lest this fierce monster should arise).
2.   My white hands haunt the ancient cold.
      Icons to the stars, gold-gilted virgins,
      held in rare esteem, astound the empty walls.
      Cold smokestacks puff from cabins in the
      snow. Short paths detect the horrid wastes
      of ice below. The workers sort, in wool,
      their winter source.
      Red Army dozes, soft-to-snooze, asleep
      across the vast white waste; iced over
      far to Asia's strange expanse.
      Europe short averts its eyes and wanders.
      White hands haunt the ancient cold.
      Fingers tap the spittle from the broom.
      Small fires boil soup upon the stoves.
      The horses, pawing, seek another Spring.
      All quiet, Russia bows.
      The soul too easy slumbers in a quick
      December nap, as balalaikas tumble from
      a daze, determined to be heard above the
      present roar. Cold steel snaps.
      Dreamed swords of hollow armor clink.
      Moscow slithers in its slink of winter snow.
      White hands haunt the ancient cold.
      The prisoners bow, and sulk, and go.
3.   Spear the difference, causing blind-eye
      vacant stares. All along the roadway the
      peasants are busy, washing their pots,
      cleaning their clothes, whistling for
      horses. There is a fire in every pit;
      meat broiling, potatoes close to crisp,
      and, everywhere, the singing of closed
      eyes. Vodka passes itself as real.
      The scene is one of Winter, always.
      The sky is passing close.
      Wear those clothes that matter.
      The lines of mud routinely close the
      roads. Mired lamplights are cut to waxen
      images, black lines along the ceiling.
      These portend the favorite war, still
      fighting. Ice, and fire. The final
      story-line, the end.
      Without reason, whatever grows, prospers.
      Thick and leafy green, the lettuce is
      carried in. Piled on tabletops from the
      south, with old bitches crying out, 'my
      eggplants and squash are the best!' And
      everywhere, liquor-of-fire. Towers, with
      blinking red lights. That is Moscow, far
      away, so close to zero, so near to the end.

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