Poem: The State Historical Museum, Moscow

On my trip to Moscow I visited the State Historical Museum in Moscow, housed in the Nikolaevsky Gate at the northern entrance to Red Square. Its collection and interpretation are still very much informed by the approach to the historical sciences of 20th century Russian Marxism. An audio-guide turns the mysteries of Russian history and culture into the determined march of historical progress, led by the vanguards of the proletariat. Yet within the museum are exhibits that demonstrate the survival of imagination and what we might call spirit despite the authoritarianism of the rational mind.


Here is a poem I have composed in response to this experience.

The State Historical Museum, Moscow

Strange stirrings of nothing.
Snatches of phrases
stolen from the shaman
Who prowled the ice.

The ghosts of abandoned battles.
The mask worn by a mystic.
The copied frescoes
Of a murdered church.

In my earpiece certain monotony:
History is a determined march.
The eight decades of the Convention
Still encase the stories of this museum.

Yet in gild-frames, angels ascend,
In exquisite and pious submission,
To an unknown place
Beyond the understanding of materialists.

Image source: The State Historical Museum, Moscow from the Northwest, Wikipedia

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