By A.S. Pushkin
Translated by D.M. Thomas
"Parched with the spirit's thirst, I crossed
An endless desert sunk in gloom,
And a six-winged seraph came
Where the tracks met and I stood lost.
Fingers light as dream he laid
Upon my lids; I opened wide
My eagle eyes, and gazed around.
He laid his fingers on my ears
And they were filled with roaring sound:
I heard the music of the spheres,
The flight of angels through the skies,
The beasts that crept beneath the sea,
The heady uprush of the vine;
And, like a lover kissing me,
He rooted out this tongue of mine
Fluent in lies and vanity;
He tore my fainting lips apart
And, with his right hand steeped in blood,
He armed me with a serpent's dart;
With his bright sword he split my breast;
My heart leapt to him with a bound;
A glowing livid coal he pressed
Into the hollow of the wound.
There in the desert I lay dead.
And God called out to me and said:
'Rise, prophet, rise, and hear, and see,
And let my words be seen and heard
By all who turn aside from me.
And burn them with my fiery word.'"
--From Dostoyevsky: A Writer in His Time
By Joseph Frank
A Prophet's Eyes
Mark Taylor's Prophetic Word: Russia and the United States