Russian Idyll

A Russian summer,
nostalgic and dreamy,
textured and spare,
Bunin’s landscape and lovers – all
under the sun, in sunflower fields,
awaiting inevitable snow…
awaiting, perhaps, the exile’s return
from Paris, from Nobel –
like Gorky, poor Gorky,
the dead son, the shuttered villa…
(“I dare say it’s time for all us nineteenth century writers to clear out. You’d better prepare my obituary. You never know.”)
I know she is fire in winter,
ice in summer,
tonic for my fevered brow
Russian Idyll (cont)
Slipping along these curves and snaking lanes – along ice-laden rivers,
still full up with salmon, froth,
life… persistent. Insistent.
and there is Andrey Anokhin,
along the bank –
sketching a shaman’s drum head,
whistling folk songs amongst the Teleuts,
caressing a dark eyed lover, head in his lap
wrapped in his skins, hands
following curves, finding
water, and fire in winter.
Her gasp, her song, her shouted stanzas,
body like a wire, quivering like a pounded drum,
the arching back,
the Russian summer exploding
in fire, in ice, in song.
-Martin Burns

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