Verse > Anthologies > Deutsch and Yarmolinsky, comps. > Modern Russian Poetry
Deutsch and Yarmolinsky, comps.  Modern Russian Poetry.  1921.
“Oh, the Ricks”
By Alexey K. Tolstoy (1817–1875)
OH, the ricks, the ricks,
In the meadows lying,
The eye cannot count
You, for all its trying.
Oh, the ricks, the ricks,        5
In the green morasses,
What do you guard:
You heaped, heavy masses?
Pray, behold us, good sir:
We were once bright flowers;        10
But the sharp scythe falls
And the whole field cowers.
We were littered here,
All mown down and shattered,
On the meadowland        15
From each other scattered.
We have no defense:
Evil guests come clawing—
And upon our crests
Perch the black crows, cawing.        20
On our heads they perch,
The starred heavens dimming.
Here the jackdaws flock,
Their foul hutches trimming.
Oh, thou eagle, hail!        25
Our far father flying,
Oh, thou fire-eyed, come,
Our bleak foes defying.
Oh, thou eagle, hail!
Lo, our groans grow stronger.        30
Let the evil crows
Blacken us no longer.
Oh, avenge us swift,
From the heavens swooping;
Punish their vile pride        35
Till their wings fall drooping:
Till the feathers fly;
Come, a bolt of thunder,
That the steppe’s wild wind
Tear them all asunder.        40

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