From International Socialism (1st series), No.6, Autumn 1961, pp.24-25.
Translated by Kurt Dowson. 
Thanks to Ted Crawford & the late Will Fancy.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.
‘Panmongolism – fierce the word may seem, yet how I love its sound’
Millions are you – and hosts, yea hosts, are we,
Ages for you, for us the briefest space,
Ages, yea ages, did your forges’ thunder
Eastwards you cast your eyes for many hundred years,
This time is now. Woe beats its wings
You, the old world, now rushing to perdition,
The sphinx is Russia, sad and yet elated,
Yet how will ever you perceive
We love cold figures’ hot illumination,
We know it all: in Paris hell’s dark street,
We love the flavour and the smell of meat,
We saddle horses wild and shy,
Join us! From horror and from strife
Say no – and we are none the worse.
Our forests’ dark depths shall we open wide
Advance, advance to Ural’s crest,
But we shall keep aloof from strife,
Unmoved shall we remain when Hunnish forces
To the old world goes out our last appeal:
30 January 1918
1. Kurt Dowson, who translated Blok’s famous poem writes: ‘The October Revolution inspired three great poets: Alexander Blok, Vladimir Mayakovsky and Sergey Yessenin. Possibly, Yessenin was less in need of stimulation than the two others – his roots were firmly in the soil and in popular tradition. Mayakovsky, the expressionist, lived and wrote by the Revolution and burnt out when the revolution had lost its impetus. Alexander Blok, the Russian intellectual in the Dostoyevskian tradition, believed in the Messianic mission of the Russian revolution. His poem The Scythians is perhaps the clearest expression of this dichotomy inherent in the Russian revolution: internationalism as well as nationalism. To this day this conflict remains unresolved. Many books have been written on it – learned studies by Socialists and Non-Socialists but Alexander Blok’s The Scythians, possibly, contributes more to the understanding of the Russian outlook than long essays by the cream of Sovietologists.’
Describing himself, Kurt Dowson adds: ‘an uncommitted Socialist who for some years belonged to G.D.H. Cole’s circle and within the context of Socialist controversies takes his stand by issues and not by wings, has always felt attracted by Slavonic poetry. As he is of Central European extraction, this may not be surprising. In his professional activities he is a financial and economic journalist (Fleet Street) who by translating occasionally a poem hopes to atone for the aid he renders by his professional activities to tycoons, investors and speculators.’
Last updated on 20 February 2010