Interlude 1: poem for Osip Mandelstam.

19 Aug

Brief Ode to Osip Mandelstam.


Simple and beautiful.

Like a curved blade.

He wrote poems in the worst decades of the 20th century.

He used Greek myths to comment on the horror of Soviet Russia.

Deimos and Phobos run amok

Odysseus filled with space and time

Storms, horns, dragons, aside old men and cracked wheat.

A refugee lost in a dying age.

Truth is dark, he writes.

Children play with the bones of dead animals.

Bright minds disappear.

What was the true source of Achilles’s rage?

So frail and desperate and vicious and rude—

This world, the firmament seething with worms, he writes.

Time gnaws at me like a coin, he writes.

A tiny voice, elegant and wonderful

buffeted about by the bullies of history.

You took away all the oceans and rooms, he writes.

He offers so little solace.

But he gives so much beauty.

A black sun will rise, he writes.


I wonder if we’ve evolved out of his peculiar sensibility.

The refined simplicity of sunsets marred only by the screams of torture victims.

The stunning ancient artistry of crags and caves and mountains

Besieged by the corpses that besmirch the land.

Mounds of human heads are wandering into the distance, he writes.


Jesus, what a line.



A poet here nearly lost to the sands of time.

A cynic, an idolater, a victim.

He spent a lifetime writing his own epigraph.

“Nobody sees me. But in books much loved, and in children’s games I shall rise from the dead to say the sun is shining.”


One Response to “Interlude 1: poem for Osip Mandelstam.”


  1. Interlude 5: Ode to Joseph Brodksy | simoneandthesilversurfer - September 30, 2014

    […] driven to write these poems by some unknown force. I wouldn’t call it inspiration. Probably the same damn thing pushing me to […]

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