Saturday, 20 September 2008

The Romanov Saints

Does a dearth of worthy Icons plague Russia’s Church?
As for Saints, in particular, the faithful rave and search,
Petitioning the Synod to Canonize a new batch of Seven,
So this selected cadre might attain a loftier rank in Heaven;
A harp and a halo each, and perchance Seraphic wings,
And whatever other perquisites such exalted status brings.

Pray, who are these Martyrs, nominated for Veneration?
Why, the autocratic Romanovs who, by Misrule’s dedication,
Brought about their own demise and the Dynasty’s just fall,
Due Nicholas’ chronic disregard in heeding Reform’s call.
Three centuries of tyranny under the Romanovs’ inept rules,
Are such the Virtues of Glorified Souls or the Signets of Fools?

What qualifies Tsar Nicholas and his sybaritic kin as Saints?
Theirs ain’t a pretty portrait, one fraught with sanguine paints,
A Legion of abuses contrived by the Elite of his vast realm,
Oppressive levies and pogroms decreed with Nicky at the helm.

The longanimous, bovine Russ, all serfs to that feudal State,
Innate Slavic apathy pervading their mortal days and Fate,
Until coerced to rebellion by famishment and like privations,
For Nicky’s Welfare Agency fell short on social donations.
What asinine rhetoric conceived such extortionate Fiats,
As a System of Governance I’ve seen better organised riots.
Placid petitions for Reforms, no aloof Oligarch would heed,
‘Til the plod of Democratic Evolution turned into a Stampede.

Any change Nicky conceded was cast in a reluctant mould,
Both the Duma and Zemstva trickled from a crucible cold,
With their issues of reform met by obstructive receptions,
Egalitarian facades, sculpted out of Autocratic deceptions.
And from the Baltic’s shores, to the Empire’s far Pacific Rim,
A Proletariat brutally censored by that most fearful acronym,
The Okhranka incarnate, the Tsar’s mitrailleuse of Repression,
Served to aggravate the suppurating carcinoma of depression.
A Calamity in gestation, awaiting its time and place of birth,
Whose repercussions would quake the politics of the Earth.

Such was the baneful recipe simmering on the Rodina’s fire,
Ingredients like Father Grigory spiced the Anarchist’s ire,
But as Rasputin gorged, and the Masses stooped to beg,
The Tsarina esteemed yet another fresh-laid Faberge egg.
The condiment of World War One enhanced the casserole,
With the German High Command endorsing Lenin’s parole,
And by a subversive, timely hand, expedited his due return,
Just as the gangrenous goulash was simmering on to burn.
This Messiah of Insurrection inveigled the rebels to concur,
And gave that bubbling, septic stew a final, mighty stir,
Then ladled out just servings to the entire Second Estate,
With Ecclesiarchs force-fed from a purgative Marxist plate.

The Tsar proffered Expiations, declaimed in autocratic jargon,
Nescient that force majeure rarely cuts a favourable bargain,
Such egoistic desperate formulas ushered Nicky’s Abdication,
For his past sins and excesses, was conferred Incarceration
By the incumbent Soviet rabble and their atheistic Professor,
With Dzerzhinsky’s satanic Cheka as warden and confessor.

Incommunicado twix the Urals, far beyond Amnesty’s hand,
Ekaterinburg, a private gulag as War’s attrition swept the land,
Until the Monarchist Whites intrigued their liberty and restoration,
Prompting the Bolsheviks to ordain the Romanovs’ termination.

Herded into dank, silent cellars neath the dacha’s frigid soil,
To mute the nauseous echoes that emit from Murder’s toil,
Pleas and screams and gunfire, then a sob or guttural bray,
Then the coup de grace, and stone dead each Romanov lay;
Tsar, Tsarina and Tsarevitch, victims of political euthanasia,
And too, four naïve maiden daughters, including Anastasia.

So does their fate qualify as saintly Suffering and Passion?
For all the Rodina’s peasants were tasked with like ration,
Protracted, their privations, in the Romanov dynastic span,
Do we Canonize each expired Russ : Woman, Child and Man?
All agonized o’er three centuries under inept tyrannic Tsars,
Their Seditious pleas for Reform earned a life behind bars,
Excommunication and mortal exile to the remote Arctic interior,
Confined to those desolate salt mines and gulags of Siberia.

So petitions for this clique’s Veneration fall upon deaf ears,
A pity such wasn’t entreated during Stalin’s regnant years,
To observe the Georgian Bear review this vain supplication,
And banish its appellants for a hefty dose of re-indoctrination
On the Kamchatka Peninsula, digging uranium with a spade,
Ne’er to rejoin polite society ‘til they’d met the Marxist grade.

For the Holy Synod’s petitioners, the verdict is Nyet, boys,
History and conscience’ logic gainsay your reverent ploys,
And solicitation for a new Saint Nicholas definitely annoys,
As we already have one : the guy who brings the children toys.

The BBC World Service News announced, circa mid-August, 2000, that the
Russian Orthodox Church is being petitioned to have Tsar Nicholas II
and his family, executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918, Canonized for their
Passion and Suffering.

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