The Russian God

Pyotr Vyazemsky
Russian
1792 – 1878

 

Do you need an explanation
what the Russian God can be?
Here’s a rough approximation
as the thing appears to me.

God of snowstorms, God of potholes,
every wretched road you’ve trod,
coach inns, cockroach haunts, and ratholes –
that’s him, that’s your Russian God.

God of frostbite, God of famine,
beggars, cripples by the yard,
farms with no crops to examine –
that’s him, that’s your Russian God.

God of breasts and… all sagging,
swollen legs in bast shoes shod,
curds gone curdled, faces dragging –
that’s him, that’s your Russian God.

God of brandy, pickle vendors,
those who pawn what serfs they’ve got,
of old women of both genders –
that’s him, that’s your Russian God.

God of medals and of millions,
God of yard sweepers unshod,
lords in sleighs with two postilions –
that’s him, that’s your Russian God.

Fools win grace, wise men be wary,
there he never spares the rod,
God of everything contrary –
that’s him, that’s your Russian God.

God of all that gets shipped in here,
unbecoming, senseless, odd,
God of mustard on your dinner –
that’s him, that’s your Russian God.

God of foreigners, whenever
they set foot on Russian sod,
God of Germans, now and ever –
that’s him, that’s your Russian God.

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