The Great Gate of Kiev

Note by Ms E. Bird

We have reached the final movement of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition suite. This describes a gate designed by Hartmann. Current czar Alexander II had escaped an assassination attempt on 4 April 1866 and there was a competition to design a commemorative gateway.

H. won the competition, but, for reasons unknown to us, the gate was never built. He considered the design his finest work, so it is fitting that M. chose to feature it in the suite as the grand finale. The movement is sober in parts yet also wildly exuberant, especially in its reference to the bells just below the helmet-shaped cupola. There is a joyful return to the Promenade theme too, inspiring us to revisit parts of our sonnet, 'Promenade'.

All at BirdBrains thank everyone for reading and enjoying this series :-) :>)

* * *

Great Gate, Czar celebration built in brick
of hundred hues and heroes etched on stone
and sunken columns, granite, giant thick,
upon whose arch our eagle has his throne;
a coat of arms augments his feathered feet
above grand stained-glass Saviour, happy host
of angels singing to the peal of bells
that echoes over every Kiev street
from rich-helmed dome, a glad triumphal boast
to goad dissenters in their prison cells!

Fine Art, no other artist scales these walls
nor reaps imagination for such jewels
festooned within the heavenly high halls
of this Academy and all its schools;
ah, Viktor! I am honoured to behold
this legacy to last beyond my years,
and to have known a friend so true to me
that, as I write, my soul seems gleaming gold
and, though I weep, these are my thankful tears
for everything you are, in memory!

Poetry by Coo & Co The PoetBay support member heart!
Read 614 times
Written on 2015-09-07 at 01:01

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Jamsbo Rockda The PoetBay support member heart!
It has been a wonderful series to read and to listen to. And you have created a fine ending in verse here. Thanks for the great insight into this interesting exhibition.

Lawrence Beck The PoetBay support member heart!
I love good poetry. I love hearing it. I usually don't learn very much as I read, but this time I did. A bonus!

Sad that your (and our) amazing journey is ending, though it does so joyfully, your poem and our appreciation and gratitude for it and the others. You should seriously consider making a chapbook of this series and sharing it with a wider audience.

one trick pony The PoetBay support member heart!
this series is a tour de force, a privilege to read, and a lesson in poetics, a lesson joyfully presented and read. it inspired me to combine painting and poems in cityscapes.

is this Mussorgsky's most iconic piece? it is the most familiar to me, so stirring! and, i think the gate still stands, though from pix on google, hard-worn.

thank you for these poems. be well, wishing you the best,


Poems at an Exhibition
by Coo & Co