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Osip Mandelstam

“If our enemies take me
And people stop talking to me,
If they confiscate the whole world—
The right to breathe, open doors,
Affirm that existence shall go on
And that people, like a judge, shall judge,
And if they dare to keep me like an animal
And fling my food on the floor,
I won’t fall silent or deaden the agony,
But shall write what I am free to write,
My naked body gathering momentum like a bell,
And in a corner of the ominous dark
I shall yoke ten oxen to my voice
And move my hand in the darkness like a plough
And, wrung out into a legion of brotherly eyes,
Shall fall with the full heaviness of a harvest,
Exploding in the distance with all the force of a vow,
And in the depths of the unguarded night
The eyes of that unskilled laborer, earth, shall shine
And a flock of flaming years swoop down,
And like a ripe thunderstorm Lenin shall burst forth.
But on this earth (which shall escape decay)
There to wake up life and reason will be”


Osip Mandelstam
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