This gentleman evidently belonged to the category of those people who wish the Government to interfere in everything, even in their daily quarrels with their wives. —”The Nose” by Nikolai Gogol

Braving the blust’ring blizzarding snow,
lo, I am the poet Zhivago
buffeted by this fierce maelstrom sent
by grim Russian wintry discontent.

In exile, forward into exile
I trudge, footprints turned to sludge; erstwhile
epitaph of my passing erased
by censoring snow as thoughts misplaced.

We march, words and men, on frozen feet:
poets and poems, fired by the heat
of burning passion. Yet chilling frost
on poetic sense extracts a cost.

Firebird verses wing the frigid air
then turn to ice. I watch in despair
as they fall to the ground and shatter:
razor-sharp shards of poetic matter.

They pierce my heart, these crystalline themes,
but gelid blood no more bleeds, it seems.
Besides no one reads much anymore:
bodies, minds and souls—all have gone frore.

So perhaps I am but Bachmashkin
bumbling about, naked and bone-thin;
frozen dead-soul ghoul, pitiably
besieging the petty bourgeoisie.

Or, worse, I am Kovalyov absurd;
in this ludicrous quest, undeterred.
One could do worse these days, I suppose,
than the loss of one’s frostbitten nose.

The Imaginative Conservative applies the principle of appreciation to the discussion of culture and politics—we approach dialogue with magnanimity rather than with mere civility. Will you help us remain a refreshing oasis in the increasingly contentious arena of modern discourse? Please consider donating now.

We hope you will join us in The Imaginative Conservative community. The Imaginative Conservative is an online journal for those who seek the True, the Good, and the Beautiful. We address culture, liberal learning, politics, political economy, literature, the arts and the American Republic in the tradition of Russell Kirk, T.S. Eliot, Edmund Burke, Irving Babbitt, Wilhelm Roepke, Robert Nisbet, Richard Weaver, M.E. Bradford, Eric Voegelin, Christopher Dawson, Paul Elmer More, and other leaders of Imaginative Conservatism. Some conservatives may look at the state of Western culture and the American Republic and see a huge dark cloud which seems ready to unleash a storm that may well wash away what we most treasure of our inherited ways. Others focus on the silver lining which may be found in the next generation of traditional conservatives who have been inspired by Dr. Kirk and his like. We hope that The Imaginative Conservative answers T.S. Eliot’s call to “redeem the time, redeem the dream.” The Imaginative Conservative offers to our families, our communities, and the Republic, a conservatism of hope, grace, charity, gratitude, and prayer.

The featured image is “Snow Maiden” (1899) by Viktor Mikhailovich Vasnetsov (1848–1926) and is in the public domain, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. It has been brightened slightly for clarity.

All comments are moderated and must be civil, concise, and constructive to the conversation. Comments that are critical of an essay may be approved, but comments containing ad hominem criticism of the author will not be published. Also, comments containing web links or block quotations are unlikely to be approved. Keep in mind that essays represent the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Imaginative Conservative or its editor or publisher.

Leave a Comment
Print Friendly, PDF & Email