“‘We live, not sensing our own country beneath us,’
We live, not sensing our own country beneath us,
ten steps away they evaporate, our speeches,
but where enough meet for half-conversation,
the Kremlin mountain man’s our occupation.
They’re like slimy worms, his fat fingers,
his words, as solid as weights of measure.
In his cockroach moustaches there’s a beam
of laughter, while below his top boots gleam.
Round him a mob of thin-necked henchmen,
he toys there with the slavery of half-men.
Whoever whimpers, whoever warbles a note,
Whoever miaows, he alone prods and probes.
He forges decree after decree, like horseshoes –
in groins, foreheads, in eyes, and eyebrows.
Wherever an execution’s happening though –
there’s raspberry, and the Georgian’s giant torso.”
Osip Mandelstam, Stalin Epigram