To Gennadi Uranov in the Coming Times – Poem
The birches are cooling after a sultry day, and grass
Is springing back in the wind of evening. The paths
Are dusty, the sound from behind the railings
Is the chatter of starlings before dark.
There is the feeling of early in the century, a face at
One of these high windows might have echoed
In Anna Andreevna’s heart, pale signal
Of love lost, of smoky music, the melancholy heart.
She dreamed of a simple life, as our poet dreamed
Whose house soaks in the fading light of day;
He turned his face against the century’s wall, and she
Walked humbly into the future of her art.
This man had set his heart on passions play,
Ended in rage that the hero’s day was done.
This woman, born to aristocratic ways,
Turned to her destiny in a prison’s dark.
Walking tonight, I turn their verses over,
Sounding the voices of our time,
Trying the shape ahead of me in this park
Of what is terrible in the days to come.
My heart is muffled like a mourning drum.
There has been so much mourning, wave after wave
Climbing the wall of the century, smashing
Our courage to splinters of stars
And this is all we have to carry forward:
Starlight of prisons, flints and shards of all that is best
In us, a line here, a phrase there, our honour
And glory in fragments over the wide earth.
Tonight I will walk down to the dark Liffey
And stand there until I cannot feel the cold anymore.
I will think of you on the Moskva’s embankment
Remembering this city, fearing for your own,
And though I am a melancholy pagan
I will pray for an end to this terrible century,
For quiet in your house and in mine, silence
After music for Yeats and Akhmatova.
Theo Dorgan’s poetry collections include The Ordinary House of Love (1991) and Rosa Mundi (1995). He co-edited The Great Book of Ireland (1991) and Revising the Rising (1991) and is director of Poetry Ireland, the Irish national poetry organization.3
COPYRIGHT 1997 Fairleigh Dickinson University
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group