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Poem by Konstantin Balmont: The Creatures Of the Ivan the Awful


The Creatures Of the Ivan the Awful

When the tsar’s creatures, gay as tigers, fierce,
By Ivan word, among the throngs of slaves,
Played their games, sunk in the blood and tears,
To rise up number of the victims’ graves, –

When innocents were burned alive and quartered,
And frayed through them by halves by rusty chains,
And their wives, their sisters and their daughters,
For more fun, were raped amidst the slain, –

When having poured hot water on the joker,
The frenzy tyrant stabbed him with a knife, –
On timeless skies, in their usual order,
The stars were smiling as in former life.

When by such thought my soul’s, sometimes, ravened,
I’m blind from madness, full of pain and shame.
O, if the world – a mystery of Heaven,
It every moment tries to be defamed!

Konstantin Balmont


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