A glittering, ornate, lovely Fabergé egg to accompany this poem.
Dear Friend, “Called away” from my country,
I square the egg and put it in a letter
that all may read, gilding each word a little
so that touched, it yields to a secret
stirring, a small gold bird on a spring
suddenly appearing to sing a small song
of regret, elation, that overspills all private
bounds, although you ask, as I do, what now
do we sing to, sing for? Before the Great War,
I made a diamond-studded coach three inches high
with rock crystal windows and platinum wheels
to ceremoniously convey a speechless egg to Court.
All for a bored Czarina! My version of history
fantastic and revolutionary as I reduced the scale
to the hand-held dimensions of a fairy tale,
hiding tiny Imperial portraits and cameos
in eggs of pearl and bone. Little bonbons, caskets!
The old riddle of the chicken and the egg
is answered thus: in the Belle Époque
of the imagination, the egg came first, containing,
as it does, both history and uncertainty, my excesses
inducing unrest among those too hungry to see
the bitter joke of an egg one cannot eat.
Oblique oddity, an egg is the most beautiful of all
beautiful forms, a box without corners
in which anything can be contained, anything
except Time, that old jeweler who laughed
when he set me ticking. Here, among the clocks
and watches of a country precisely ordered
and dying, I am not sorry, I do not apologize.
Three times I kiss you in memory
of that first Easter, that first white rising,
and send this message as if it could save you:
Even the present is dead. We must live now
in the future. Yours, Fabergé.