Welcome to Eureka Street

back to site

Pictures of Stalin

Paint the icons

'By the end of the 21st century, icons of Joseph Stalin will be in every
Orthodox Church' — Sergei Malinkovich, Communist Party Leader.
Published in telegraph.co.uk, 23 July 2008 

Magisterial wings of endurance. Seismic waves of the radiant sun;
Burst in the hour of horrible hope, blaze into soft-fired sequins

Of blood-lit language, each letter aflame with the burning tips of a crimson brush.

Mine the fury which drills into veins of thinning gold, syntaxical treasures

Asleep in the light of the frozen stars that flow from the base
Of an Orthodox wall: a mysterious tableaux of breathless splendour,

A casement of blue and furious fire, charged with a mass of shuddering shadows
That tremble from the guttering wicks of candles, blessed by hands wrinkled and old.

Lips touch the rims of the ancient icons, a-flood with centuries of sorrowful sound,
Blisters of paint cracked in the heat of relentless wars, black-budded flowers

Of endless Full Stops which raged in silence from era to era, a chain
Of exits, of limitless files of murdered dots, of shaved heads written

Into book after book of horror-stricken, blameless, powdered punctuation.
Kneel, knees of godless strength, gaze into the mirror of the suffering muse

Recite the stanzas of the world's soft Stalins, paint the icons of your murderous fathers.

james WallerJames Waller is a painter, poet and sculptor based in Melbourne.

Topic tags: icons, joseph stalin, james waller, new australian poetry



submit a comment

Similar Articles

A child's suffering for sainthood

  • Tim Kroenert
  • 23 April 2009

Within the cloistered world of Opus Dei, a young girl, Camino, is dying. The Church hierarchy and its emphasis upon a Father-God have displaced the nurturing instincts of Camino's mother, who urges her daughter along the path of suffering.


The gospel according to Dostoevsky

  • Cassandra Golds
  • 24 April 2009

That Dostoevsky is said to have developed a 'theology of writing' does not mean he arrives forearmed with a set of dogmatic truths. Rather, he practises the narrative and spritual discipline of allowing each character to be heard.