I wrote a few days ago about seeing Forth of July as a sort of counterpoint to Pound's Cantos. Forth of July is actually an enormous bubble of rhyme-joy... full of oddities... one of which is a minor thread raveling together Scythia, Sarmatia, King Arthur, Mandelstam...

& as I was looking around while composing those comments to Stephen Burt's piece, I came upon this Wikipedia entry.

The "Scythian" theme is real in Petersburg poetry. Blok has a famous poem , "The Scythians", on the advent of the Revolution.

Ossetia, and the Ossetian language, descend from ancient Scythia, which Herodotus called "the land of the Gerrhi" (see modern day Gori, in Georgia, focus of recent headlines).

Mandelstam set himself "like flint" against Stalin. The priest-kings are still battling for the golden bough in the sacred wood. One of his poems identifies poetry with the free, full-throated song of horsemen bringing children to their wedding. His Stalin epigram, on the other hand, mocks the "barrel-chested Ossete". Here's a passage from July, the 3rd bk of Forth of July :

 He spoke awhile   and was quiet awhile
 and I heard a Scythian golden horde
 thundering in the distance  drone
 of trumpets   pounding hoofs   the tinkling

 of tiny earrings   rustling gowns   robes
 awash with pendants jingling   so far
 so small now   in the infinite   raft
 of grassland   horsemen, sober

 bringing the children to their wedding
 with clear-eyed   innocent song
 full-chested   doubleyoudoubleyou   gone
 by   invisible now   up into the air   like dew

 toward a mound of earth   in Gerrhus
 in the land of Gerrhi   where clovers grow
 quatrefoil   one urn   one lucky seven   worked
 from soil beside   great rivers   &   one Suger-bee

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