Aidan Semmens
Shadowtrain books
Index to Poets
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Five sonnets from The Book of Isaac 


I saw you cry like a ship ready to sail
but nothing happened today that was not like yesterday
we spent the whole day or a walk on the deck or food
herring so sourly I felt shiver all down my back
besides I had three cups of tea without milk
not shake the ship than any railroad train
between coffee & dinner we walked & while we were walking
we read some passages of Rip Van Winkle & had to stop
a strangled sob story so much & reminded me
my return to Russia, I wish you would read it
aloud to mother & Sasha, I’m sure you can get it
in Woodbine, our deck lights, I can see just after dark
& expect to be able to do a lot of writing

in short the first day I have been very happy




a parable is told of warring tribes:

one day a tribesman meets with a magician

who says I will donate whatever you may wish

but the man across the river twice

man responsible stretched out one eye

it’s not easy to throw wild ideas

in his complaint the Dutch scholar Erasmus

urged people to unite to end dissension, you

must realise the tremendous strength inherent

that the contract number of a people which opposes

tyranny of the nobility

for the revolution cause written

there is no place for any of the privileges

or the slightest degree of oppression of man by man




the first edition of Leviathan

is an image of a giant with a sword

& stick bishop towering above the ground

towns & villages, castles & churches

all visible body contains

myriad minute figures, Hobbes

for commonwealth depicts man as compound

sovereignty of an artificial soul

neural reward & punishment

harmony is health, sickness & death of sedition

zealous Mikhailovsky fell on the theory

as the apotheosis of the factory system

mir & the fellowship of the workers’

shelter for the individuality of man




an imperial world’s population change

by law to negotiate the maze of unfair path

is impossible accurately to determine time

orthodox conspiracy against Holy Russian myth

becomes available in a hostile crowd

our Isaac jailed in Piter

said from a superior employee expects no release

because Jewish is considered for disruption especially

Josef Rozovsky is difficult to evade impression

in Kiev who knew the students of the school

hanged in dissemination of the People’s Will

while proposal of his comrade sentence in the work of six years

were first victim of bigoted bureaucracy

intruders in the criminal justice polity




there are differences between countries in the world of multiple classes

in addition to England – I miss the way home in Russia !

there is currently only in my life

a small house a little cottage

the room in which to read the book to read

ten fire & extinguished the lamp

I need to go outside the bedroom so cold

is Kolya married, desperate for news?

come down for breakfast I wanted every morning

letter telling when Clive will come

two months since he left under my angel

& his people but kindly old & English

conditions completely unfit for people

belonging to an educated class



© Aidan Semmens, 2010