‘On the Death of Zhukov’
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I see columns of stock-still grandsons / the coffin on a guncarriage, the backside of a horse. / The wind here does not carry the sounds to me / of plangent Russian military horns. / I see, in its regalia decked, the corpse: / To death journeys firey Zhukov. / / Warrior before whom fell many / walls, though his sword was blunter than his foes’ / with a brilliant manoeuvre, of Hannibal / reminiscent, mid the Volga steppes. / His final days, solitary, in disgrace / like Belisarius or Pompey. / / How much he spilt of soldier’s blood / in foreign lands! Did he grieve? / Did he remember them as he lay dying in his civilian / white bed? A complete blank.
KeywordsForeign Land Stylistic Register Sound Symbolism Stressed Vowel National Hero
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- Joseph Brodsky, Less than One: Selected Essays (London: Penguin, 1987). Hereafter referred to as LTO.Google Scholar
- See, for example, Petr Vail’s penetrating ‘Snegir’ na pokhoronakh Zhukova’, in Panorama, no. 294 (1986) pp. 20–2.Google Scholar
- See, for example K. R Taranovsky, Zvukovaia faktura stikha i ee vospriiatie’, in Proceedings of the 6th International Congress of Phoneticians (Prague, 1970) pp. 883–4.Google Scholar