‘One Hundred Years’, a poem by Steve Bloom on the centenary of the Russian Revolution

The full poem can be downloaded as a pdf here 

And over the evening forest
the bronze moon climbs to its place.
Why has the music stopped?
Why is there such silence?
            —Osip Mandelshtam

One Hundred Years

Prologue:

How long is a century?

First allow me to note that mine
is not a name which appears
in your great books of history—
as they recount events
which are now that far
in the past.

Yet others who,
today,
find themselves proclaimed
in this way would never have had
the opportunity
without my name,
without my deeds,
or those
of my comrades.

We numbered in the millions.

How long is a century?

Long enough that long ago
all who survived
the great war

and then
the great civil war

and then
the great purges

have long since joined
the crowd of the dead, and so

far too many among the living
reach the present moment
with no understanding of how—
and, perhaps more important, why—
one name
            in our books of history
came to be changed
over the course of a few
            tumultuous years
from “Petrograd”

to “Leningrad.”

It is, however, a story you should know.

Continue reading “One Hundred Years”

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