Happy Birthday, Fyodor Tyutchev
(December 5, 1803 - July 27, 1873)
Night-flutter of birds in the pines out front,
like the rustle of a young Bavarian widow's skirt
as she sits to read a poem of crystal-blue skies,
tender smiles, love and death. No mention
of a diplomat's dandruff, nor of grumbles
over another man's wildfire-beloved going cold
after application of a new gold wedding band.
You made glossy-best of Russian winters,
wrote warmer poems in Athens, Rome,
and, best of all, with bunioned feet
at play in Swiss lakes. The snowy, rutted roads
to and from the estate, Ovstug, were depressing,
like a smelly maid's oat-colored quivering buttocks.
The poems cried out to be written, but you scrunched
most of them in your fist, saying, We all vanish,
why not my tiny cups of salted watery wine?