One cannot now help thinking
how much better it would have been
if Vronsky and Anna Karenin
had stood up for themselves, and seen
Russia across her crisis,
instead of leaving it to Lenin.
The big, flamboyant Russia
might have been saved, if a pair
of rebels like Anna and Vronsky
had blasted the sickly air
of Dostoevsky and Tchekov,
and spy-government everywhere.
But Tolstoi was a traitor
to the Russia that needed him most,
the clumsy, bewildered Russia
so worried by the Holy Ghost.
He shifted his job on to the peasants
and landed them all on toast.
Dostoevsky, the Judas,
with his sham christianity
the last bit of sanity
left in the hefty bodies
of the Russian nobility.
So our goody-good men betray us
and our sainty-saints let us down,
and a sickly people will slay us
if we touch the sob-stuff crown
of such martyrs; while Marxian tenets
naturally take hold of the town.
Too much of the humble Willy wet-leg
and the holy can’t-help-it touch,
till you’ve ruined a nation’s fibre
and they loathe all feeling as such,
and want to be cold and devilish hard
like machines — and you can’t wonder much.