Revolutionaries, 1929

By Adam Kirsch Adam Kirsch
Revolutionaries [Alois Lindner, Erich Mühsam, Guido Kopp], 1929 by August Sander
Twelve years on, the beard that Lenin wore
Still sharpens revolutionary chins
To dagger-points held ready for the war
In which the outgunned proletarians
Will triumph thanks to these, their generals,
Whose rounded shoulders and round glasses say
That sedentary intellectuals
Raised in the bosom of the bourgeoisie
Can also learn to work — if not with hands,
Then with the liberated consciousness
That shrinks from nothing since it understands
What’s coming has to come. The monuments
To which the future genuflects will bear
These faces, so intelligently stern,
Under whose revolutionary stare
Everything that is burnable must burn.

Source: Poetry (April 2013).


This poem originally appeared in the April 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2013
 Adam  Kirsch


Adam Kirsch’s The Modern Element: Essays on Contemporary Poetry (2008) is published by W.W. Norton. His second collection of poems is Invasions (Ivan R. Dee, 2008).

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, History & Politics, War & Conflict

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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