February 10, 2021

In the unenchanted village hostelry

Hard in a foreign bitter winter chill

Drinking ring Dostoevsky’s complement

Around, spending their revels

In a crisp waste wild

Mitya the wayward, careworn Karamazov

Deals about champagne

The hosteller is racked that tattered local trash

Like peasants should be laughing, quaffing, singing

He burns inside, his livid pride intends to glean

From Mitya, lift some roubles, latch on rapid gain

His pocket rankles, gripes consume his hurting purse

He’s aching, faking friendship, life’s a racket

Mitya is object to him; means to glean roubles large.

The entertainment’s underlings a much-disgusting caste

A populace engorging on a profligate’s freak whim

Of manic hospitality – hand-wringing, cringing serfs

Whiles Mitya calls the tunes, bawls out for dancing girls;

Him whom the room at dawn shall soon agree to cast to shallows,

And fond shipwreck on strands; these very persons turtle-turn,

Whom his best boozy liquor-trenchers are this night

This low and coutheless class, the hosteller’s dancing wenches

Shall turn, and start; no, no! join-in, one reflex second revel

Straightway begun upon conundrums hard upon the first

A brother party started brings the singing to full stop

This company of no true quality of manners

Without good form, nor nominal civil kindness

Who bore no motive, only carrying on the passing swim

Assays to testify, and reinforce against him

To dun the generous grain of Mitya’s confidence

By marring his defence, corroborating evidence,

Unfoundedly, perhaps to see him shamed

Brought down; the simple clown might take collateral

From a perverse class-vengeance, or draw pleasure in it

Or merely follow leaders, as a pack moves in

Who throw their echoed lies, confirm, assert surmise,

Supine to times’ directions, or to hope to gain

To see a man of senior rank disgraced before them

In whom by all convention they would see a don

Reduced, in dishabille, distracted now; abasement

All done by system, with enjoyment, by prosaic groove

Investigator leeches clinging latch attach-on

The suffering sullied soul that Mitya broke repudiates

Who would have had this night his last; pistols at dawn

Had travelled down with such a payload to astound them all

And blow his brains out; last emprise of love:

And entered heated, greeted all, disturbed the world

Had come that night, a fright, to join the wedding party

And his Grushenka sits here now, betrothed unto another

His colour pallid, his demeanour hectic, candid,

Had blurted all confusion wishing happiness to well

Upon the present pair; a benediction run askew

Its misdirection ardently the whole occasion spoiling

To sit, permit, accept, partake, amongst the celebration

And see the bride to go, himself denied, his limits stretched,

His spirit wrenched in two

And yet such turnaround events expand, traversing

Eventual astonishment, professed in every hue

That harlequin called love this night courting a blasted hope,

By and by, Grushenka, Mitya, soon pronounce it as

Her heart is his, with bands of blind confounding love

The cheer runs high, the joy of song abounds

Their happy hours in swathes come in upon them

Where here, when half-begun, new life’s undone; the door bends

Mitya is confronted; calumniated, suspected parricide

The vocal loud rapport breaks down; the town’s investigators

Burst-in, broadcasting all the dancers sprawling

And all goes to confusion; come to take command

A legal crew enthused, their lordly roles, commissions

Patrol, extol technique, their bumptious, high-blown

Civic shows already heady scents a trail as like

As sniffer dogs. Their knack to want to pin a pregnant case

Too readily, their high-fired eager brains aspiring

The law, its proper conduct, due procedure, hangs

Inimically on formalised civilities depending

But Mitya’s victory in love’s vectoral changes

Assumes assured that allegations soon shall flounder

All will be well, his narrative at ready

He would embarrass them, so simple is the case

Who ever would suspect of him? a gentleman.

Let there be leave to talk things through and – videlicet!

And on and on a headlong chase draws in the strings

A tiny flaw scores, snapped up, and with jaws of stealth

Unexpurgated hint minutiae re-examined

A careful pincer’s claw has Mitya cabined, captive,

But lit within with inner light his honour, glows for purpose,

Upholding, and unfolding, constancy around his temperament

Not seeing a gradual grasp on innocency going, ever going

It being drained by endless pains of brains hotly pursuing

The brusque and mundane commonplace of circumstance

Planing and cunning by little to evince an arid hard

Sententious labour, with no peck of understanding

And crumpling Mitya’s honour; how their paper chains

Of laboured spadework games, purpose to make a collar

A parricide can’t be denied, they know their man;

The horror! their soft immoderate presumption fortifies

On much insinuate materials. Gross and grovelling basal dirt

Daft fact – this codeword blocking

An imagination unlocking; a dram or gill of which would save

A brave amenable Mitya

His blessed Grushenka who had see this proof of truth

Within him - as his honour – which by word alone

Had made him strong; in soundest absolution.

The kiss of innocence impressed his heart; she saw it

Colluders for the carcass saw this not; only their noses.

The level brow of honour furrows, borrows sallow rigour

It rakes and separates amongst the ruins of remains

His prideful life is tossed within sublunary flames

A cleansing in a lower circle where refines one’s conduct

Presenting to The Lord a sad deflated fool

An inundated penitent come to join the roll call

With hungerers at the board to take the holy supper;

Jejune ones, knowing now, expatriates from all remiss

Condonings, inner-brayings, sayings just how much

Superior, ulterior, one is, who is the perfect dream:

These follies jelly, belly, crashing down, a rare refreshing

Lesson by the way, opens forgiveness from The Lord

Confessing a new day

By this is Mitya’s future close accounted for; there appears

Parsed away old common crow-like grasps of appetite;

Probationer now stood before the Throne of Light

No hard-wired acumen tries to defend the self

Let men who speak technique affect, afflict, technique

The worse for them. A guiding star inside

Is more than seven years or ten among atoning

Appointed sheilings in a reprobate’s Siberia

His best Grushenka with him waiting; in peculiar

Relief of right belief, ameliorating shame

Those condemnatory self-congratulatory clericals

Those boiler-suit platoons in close forensic search;

Let arguments of mainline-central evidence remain their church

Of proficient salience

As far from understanding Mitya as the passing orbs

Of Neptune and Uranus are from turnings of the earth;

Aglow with overflow, not proximate, but nonetheless astir

Come valencies, with calls upon, comes liberally, The Word