The Middle Way

As the illegitimate great-grandson of Vladimir Lenin
I evinced his keenness and determination in so dilute
a measure that no hegemon ever stationed tanks
at the whistlestops whither I journeyed to harangue
the peasants snuggling in their Buicks, silhouetting
myself against the giant screen, gesticulating wildly
as if a prairie fire was soon to envelop the drive-in,
a warm-up act for Cary Grant who came all the way
from Hollywood crammed in a magazine designed
for celluloid, not ammo, and clearly the interregnum
of the sten gun was over as I stood there, illumined,
mouth agape, a magnet for mosquitoes and luna moths.

Yet who is to say that my speech in the school gym
didn’t plant seeds of doubt in young minds otherwise
conditioned to serve the state, even if their faces
appeared rather blank to this cosmopolitan outsider
who lacked great-granddad’s faith in eventual victory
through lifelong struggle, who urged the middle way –
the suicide rate in Sweden being less than some claim –
lasting peace now that Germany has been split in half –
not to mention the solidarity of predator and prey –
just as the noon bell triggered a rush to the cafeteria,
a token of appreciation for sentiments suitably tame,
though a squawk in the amp got laughs all the same.

Evenings I listen to the late works of Richard Strauss –
he of Capriccio, not Fledermaus – envisioning a realm
of rapturous delight where courtiers cultivate restraint,
confident those weaving lines of melody will culminate
inevitably in a chord so harmonious as to melt the soul
of their gracious chatelaine, she who rules the manor
with but a nod and a smile, admonishing that old rake,
the basso, to, well, keep it zipped for propriety’s sake,
finding however a private moment to waltz with him
round the sofa till the riff-raff burst in, beseeching
bread and circuses, though the grapes have not seen
a decent harvest since the fieldhands voted to unionize.

Douglas Smith, formerly a teacher of Anthropology at York University, is a homeopathic physician.and author of several books on alternative medicine. It is claimed (although Dissident Voice has no proof of this!) that Doug and his partner grow the best garlic in Haliburton County. Read other articles by Douglas.