Persistence: A Fable
The little devil bent toward the earth and began searching for roots, and when he found them gave them to Ivan, saying: “If you will swallow some of these you will be immediately cured of whatsoever disease you are afflicted with.”
–Tolstoy, “Ivan the Fool”
The tsars of all the realms, both near and far,
Were startled by the universal storm—
Caused, perhaps, by a dark, insistent star
That couldn’t show itself but could transform
Our ways of doing everything. The warm
Were cold again. The chessmen wouldn’t play.
Who could profess adherence to the norm?
Who could pretend persistence in the Way?
Well, Kirill, maybe you could. Day by day
Where Pyotr’s brother built a place for Christ,
Surviving through distraction and dismay,
You raised your eyes while nervous soldiers diced.
Maybe someday we’ll all see what you saw—
And tsars in all the realms will then know awe.