Thirteen Ways Of Praising Dimitri Shostakovitch
All praise to you, Dimitri
For your love of Mother Russia.
All praise to you for consigning
Social Realism to the Dogs of Dogma
Praise again for your defiance
Of Stalin's will-to-ignorance.
For your defiance of the tred
Upon the stairs by terror's emissaries.
For your distillation of Russia's joy
And suffering in your song.
All praise for the War Symphonies
In the name of drums and horror.
Praise too for the threads of dark
And light woven in your cloak of truth.
Again praise for the musical jokes
When the crass Kremlin cried for kitsch.
Congratulation on your posthumous elevation
To 'Russia's Laureate of Music'.
And again for your 'Testimony' to a life
Spent in exile from hypocrisy and cant.
Take praise from a grateful listener
Who has learned to know who you are.
But above all Dimitri, praise to you
For our share in your genius.
For the sharing of Russia's grandeur
Grief, tragedy, stupidity, and joy.