STRAY DOG NIGHTS
St Petersburg before revolution
A literary revolution taking place
New voices setting the pace
Anna reading at the Stray Dog
"We're all drunkards here."
Sweetening the hour
Anna in her twenties
Free to come and go
Modligliani drew her in Paris
She saved one sketch for life
Years before terror stifled spirit
And she became a prisoner of time
Bearing witness as loved ones were jailed
Outside prison a woman said
"Can you describe this?"
She did, forcing light from darkness
Never forgetting Stray Dog nights
When Petersburg was golden with promise
When she came and went, trailing youth
Anna Akhmatova frequented The Stray Dog, a poetry venue opened in Petersburg in 1912. Other performers included Mandelstam and Mayakovski. Akhmatova celebrated the venue in her 1913 poem, 'We're All Drunkards Here'.
Cuan On Oir, the sheltered harbour,
Where I sailed a yawl in days of yore,
Adam and eve still its guardian islands
Protect the village of glandore.
A calm sea shimmers in the sunlight.
Silence. Not even the sea gulls scream,
A place for man to find his soul,
And a vista that’s an artist’s dream.
Two yachts are silently at anchor,
Sails furled as if fast asleep,
Loath to leave this peaceful haven
To face the perils of the deep
Fire fly dinghies neatly marshalled,
Week end sailors drinking beer,
Navy blazers, canvas slippers,
No deep-sea sailors linger here.
Yacht club door is partly open,
To let inmates smell the brine,
Then tell tall tales of winter gales,
No wet sails here, just gin and lime.
The admiral was once a farmer,
Now awaits the closing bell,
Drinks black rum to protect the image,
Seen no big waves just a ground swell.
Nothing to spoil this little haven,
No wild waves crash on its shore,
No sign here of the flying dutchman,
Who sails other oceans for evermore.
When writing a poem
When writing a poeM,
devising a stanzA,
constructing the verseS,
or forming a cantO,
try to be cryptiC,
use words that are ricH,
a varied potpourrI
of phrases and sounds. TelesticheS
avoid, as they’re for the daring, the bravesT
of bards, the heroes, the foolhardy masochistS.
Piers Corbyn what a euphemism you chose!
do you suppose it makes sense, to those
who died on the railway, without their consent?
Piers Corbyn, were you trying your best
foment, or torment those who could tell you how time,
at ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ was really spent?
Piers Corbyn, would you have ‘Auschwitz’
as a platitude?
equating it with vaccine, or voluntary choice,
confirming you’re ignorant, base and crude.
Piers Corbyn, would you’ve advocated any
sh’d run amok ‘mongst kids, while you sleep with ease,
having warned parents jabs would see them in cemeteries?
So, Piers Corbyn since it’s attested,
that you were arrested,
for slighting surviving internees –
your usual, casual, callous, ill-researched, breeze –
albeit your B and MSc degrees, you felt no alarm,
though aware, detainees were branded, each, on one arm.
Piers Corbyn, Concentration Camps didn’t
offer invites or options,
those with numbers stamped on their limbs, were spared no emotions,
in the UK the herd may decline or concede,
but odds are, your kin ensured you were MMR vaccine-freed.