Red Star Above Redeemer's Gate
Age Rating: 13 +
(first draft was made in high school, about 1968; revised extensively during college years during the late 1970s, and finally as I enter this on P-n-P. Just a little history. Things are somewhat different nowadays, since the fall of the USSR.)
A red star shines above Redeemer's Gate
And casts its scarlet glow
Upon the onion domes of old St. Basil's.
Nearby, tucked in the nighttime shadows
Of the ancient Kremlin Walls,
Lenin sleeps a mannequined sleep,
Deep within his granite tomb
And rests, for daylight
Brings the pilgrim hordes.
Two by two in ordered gait
Disciples come through sun or snow
To cross the foot of the holy bier.
No pause, no song,
No gifts, no sigh--
A mortal host of stone-faced guardians
Stands by, one swears, unblinking.
Ceaselessly the pilgrim lines
File steadily in wordless awe
Till dusk and the closed door
Quiet the shuffle and the stir.
Then the ruby points gleam high
Over Redeemer's Gate and mark the place
Where Lenin lies,
As if to rise.
In due course arrives the dawn.
Daily the ascending sun
Lights Saint Basil's many domes
And, for a time, ancient gilded crosses
Rise, boldly golden,
Against November skies.
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A true poem with many points behind
it I love its rhythmic flow it makes me smile to see a tapestry so well woven with such patience.
I can see the hard work behind it all so beautiful.
A Job well Done indeed.
This is an estimable piece of history that is now literary history in the hearts and minds of all that should come across it.I like the movements of this,how it carried you through the brevity in time with an unsurpassed descriptiveness to it.What a many-sided gem that proves you not only are a brave man but a very talented and thought-provoking man.With regard to war,Wallace Stevens once wrote,"One man crossing one bridge,is a thousand men crossing a thousand bridges." This piece made me think of the strong impact that war has on everyone and everything.Sincerely,Eric
I always thought of the USSR as a rather gray and dismal place, not where anybody in their right mind would actually choose to live. So when I received a high school assignment to write about the Soviet Union, I wrote my required paper and tried to get some of the dullness in my poem--but not entirely dull. I wanted to give a sense of hope, too, hence the gilded crosses. Now I know some will have comments on the stupefying oppression of the Russian church, and how it bent over backward to cooperate with the communist government, and all that may be true, and I think it is, but my hopeful point was based solely of the sun on the gold. I could have used any figure, but having mentioned St. Basil's, it was the most natural figure. Oh, and St. Basil's had been made into a museum by the communists, as had many other churches, relics of past superstition. And yes, I'm a God-fearing religious man myself, so I think I know by hard experience whereof I speak. Maybe. But notice that the church religion had been replaced by a state religion, with the faithful ever parading past the glassed-in tomb of its patron saint. Man must believe in something, it seems, if only imagined or propagandized, that is perceived as being higher or more noble than himself. Or so I thought at the time. My reviews were refined considerably during my college years, and continue to develop as I get older. I still think it's one of my best-written poems, even with a small, final tuneup as I entered it into P-n-P.
I don't see any cynicism in this wonderful poem -- just the thoughtful reporting of the faithful lined up to see the mortal remains of a leader they'd come to think of as a god. I can imagine the same scene has been replayed many times throughout history. In Egypt on a pharaoh's passing, for example. We like to say that we've come to pay our respects, but we also like to see the body laid out. It confirms what we knew all along -- nobody gets out alive, not even the gods.
A fitting, if cynical--but deservedly so--look at the true value of totalitarianism and intolerant arrogance. And the ironic triumph, even if only once a day, of golden crosses greeting each new day while petty tyrants are remembered in their graves, and will never rise to greet anything.