The great Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky speaks across the decades to our moment. The poem below was written in 1917, in the midst of events that the parlance of today would have called something like #October25Rev. If comrades have not yet had the great pleasure of making Mayakovsky’s acquaintance, though dead now 80 long years, there is no time like the present. He was, after all, a Futurist. The tramp of revolt on the square is echoing these hopeful days. And it is demanding to be taken up to heaven alive!
Beat the tramp of revolt in the square!
Up, row of proud heads!
We will wash every city in the world
With the surging waters
of a second Flood.
The bull of the days is skewbald.
The cart of the years is slow.
Our god is speed.
The heart is our drum.
Is there a gold more heavenly than ours?
Can the wasp of a bullet sting us?
Our songs are our weapons;
Ringing voices — our gold.
Meadows, be covered with grass,
Spread out a ground for the days.
the fast-flying horses of the years.
See, the starry heaven is bored!
We weave our songs without its help.
Hey, you, Great Bear, demand
that they take us up to heaven alive!
Drink joys! Sing!
Spring flows in our veins.
Beat to battle, heart!
Our breast is a copper kettledrum.