Modern Russian Poetry/"When Mountain Ash"
"WHEN MOUNTAIN ASH"
When mountain-ash in clusters reddens,
Its leafage wet and stained with rust,
When through my palm the nail that deadens
By bony hands is shrewdly thrust,
When leaden-rippling rivers freeze me,
As on the wet gray height I toss,
While my austere-faced country sees me
Where I am swinging on the cross,
Then through my bloody agonizing
My staring eyes, with tears grown stiff,
Shall see on the broad river rising
Christ moving toward me in a skiff.
And in his eyes the same hopes biding,
And the same rags from him will trail,
His garment piteously hiding
The palm pierced with the final nail.
Christ! Saddened are the native reaches.
The cross tugs at my failing might.
Thy skiff—will it achieve these beaches,
And land here at my cruciate height?