Dream Song 59: Henry’s Meditation in the Kremlin

Down on the cathedrals, as from the Giralda
in a land no crueller, and over the walls
to domes & river look
from Great John’s belfry, Ivan-Veliky,
whose thirty-one are still
to hail who storms no father’s throne. Bell, book

& cradle rule, in silence. Hour by hour
from time to time with holy oil
touch yet the forehead eyelids nose
lips ears breast fists of Kruschev, for Christ knows
poor evil Kadar, cut, is back in power.
Boils his throne. The moujik kneels & votes.

South & east of the others’ tombs—where? why,
in Arkhanghelsky, on the Baptist’s side,
lies Brother Jonas (fomrerly Ivan the Terrible),
where Brother Josef came with his friend’s heart
out of such guilt it proved all bearable,
and Brother Nikita will come and lie.

Analysis, meaning and summary of John Berryman's poem Dream Song 59: Henry’s Meditation in the Kremlin

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