Homage To Anna

Homage To Anna

Workers in the Snow, by Edvard Munch. 1913
Workers in the Snow, by Edvard Munch. 1913

Was thinking again about Anna Akhmatova’s graceful, direct, hit you in the gut poetry. Was also thinking about non-poetic things like economics. I think recent events have made it very clear just how muddy the topic really is. Clear as mud and slush in the morning before rush hour starts. As is my wont at times, I took another look at an old poem of mine in a new context:

 

 

 

Unemployed

 

He read Akhmatova while he waited in line
No bread line
No line to see prisoners
Starving and cold

He felt something hum in his ear
A soft wind
“Can you describe this?”

Revolutions come and go and the poets sing
With the masses the poor the archetypes
Huddled in clumps on small muddy streets
Facing warm and dry avenues
And white winters on red knees

There were no horses chained to three good wheels
There were no ice sculptures formed by God
Blood protruded from the book

And dripped down on the sidewalk

Heroes!
Heroes!

The wealth of shoes moved up a beat
And he moved his in the slow motion
Of montages forgotten on the floor
Of too many theaters

For in the Requiem was the message
That struggle is truth withheld
And poverty the witness
To that struggle

Cars sweep by and buses sweep by
With the fury of old technology
Too loud to be civilized
Too gray to announce

Blood spattered below his feet like mud
Coming from the wheels of carts
And cars and buses
The book and the lines in the book
Told him one thing and then another

As if in sequence
As if at the same moment

A simple thing for her because Anna
Was alive inside him and
The souls of the defeated waiting in the cold
Waiting here in the heat
Or there
In a wind so hard and pompous
The houses slip into laments and memory

 

 

— by Douglas Pinson

 

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