Friday, March 4, 2016

Two Odes to Alexander Pushkin by V.S.

A Little Ode to Alexander Pushkin from the Point of View of Today

„For such a superior poet to be possible,
And to impress the people so profoundly,
He had to have a view of the real sentiments
Of the great mass of the Russian people
Without being deceived himself.“

Who is Pushkin? For to ask
Who he was isn’t, never was
The question that is right.
Fate mends her previous cut.

He is a spirit with a touch
And a bit of whiff
Of the young birches
Caught in the early wind.

As a spirit he roams the land
And pours his gentle influence
Like a river that flows,
But doesn’t see itself.

He inspires and sings,
And in his lacing embrace,
He set his heroes on that boat
That is bound to return

From the realm of Gogol’s souls.
Once they have cleansed themselves,
While it is the job of Pushkin’s verse
To mark whether they rise or regress.

Pushkin’s poems people and man
The shops, the streets, the graves, the towns.
In him alone, whether live or dead, they all unite
—whether shallow and deep or small and great.

That’s why, in Pushkin’s Muse, Russia keeps
Her preferred & perennial vantage point.
To those below he gives a glimmer of the hope,
Which extends over the low and petty horizons.

Pushkin’s poetry is the presence
That stretches broadly like an arc,
Holding the ahead and the behind
In love together as much safely apart.

He contemplated on the people
And then tried to chart the stars
In accordance with the presage
Of their mortal woof and warp

At a time when the light retreats,
And the dark is on the rise
Before the act and the sacrifice,
Though with the writ already up.

Thus Pushkin’s word was unsheathed
Just when the deepest thought
For the wound ought to be applied
Instead of chatter, rhymes and chirp.

For the question is and still remains:
“To whom does man’s heart obey—
To whom do you pay and consecrate
Your soul and your best and the worst?”

Spirits tremble, and words do bend,
Denying what they cannot but confirm,
And against the light feather of his voice
The Russian soul weighs its ancient gold.

Pushkin Two Hundred Years After

When wind becomes the balance,
It’s hard to attain and easy to lose
For the wind is a crystal made of fire
—the great medicine born within.

Wind carries light impeding mists,
But also the opposing power,
And out of these two locked
In each other temples were built.

And so through the words of poems
That were meant to protect, lead,
Even poetry and poets began
To separate themselves.

And yet again with each address,
One part retires to conceal itself,
While the other is being undressed.
Yet arms do come—after the mind

Which the path lets grow
Before the soul drops it—
By her side like a petal,
And the summer becomes ripe.

In this endless, changing strife,
It’s the heart that keeps the time
Made of pausing gaps and beats,
While holding to an artful tie.

If you have injured, repair.
If you have torn down, revamp.
If you have judged, release.
If you have begrudged, forgive.

If you have grasped, let go,
Striking gold with tones
Like violin’s strings
Which touch unfolds.

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