Look in thy glass, and tell the face thou viewest
Now is the time that face should form another;
Whose fresh repair if now thou not renewest,
Thou dost beguile the world, unbless some mother.
For where is she so fair whose unear’d womb
Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry?
Or who is he so fond will be the tomb
Of his self-love, to stop posterity?
Thou art thy mother’s glass, and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime:
So thou through windows of thine age shall see
Despite of wrinkles this thy golden time.
But if thou live, remember’d not to be,
Die single, and thine image dies with thee.
Source: Poetry Foundation. Image: Scan of refrigerator magnet “The President of Russia” (actual dimensions: 5.5 cm x 8 cm). The magnet was purchased for ₽39 (approx. €0.56) at Bukvoyed Bookstore, 10/118 Ligovsky Prospect, Petersburg, on February 8, 2018.
To the Cockroach they all yield—
He’s now lord o’er wood and field.
He struts about among them,
Rubbing his big tummy,
Looks at their young ones
And thinks: “How very yummy!”
Gazes at the little ones with greed,
Orders supper to be brought him with speed!
“I want no beans or corn,
But flesh of baby unicorn;
Other youngsters as well—
Those with a savory smell.”
The poor, poor parents
Are in distress.
Their dear babes
They hug and caress:
For what mother could give up her child,
Her baby tame or her baby wild?!
So that the monster could devour
Her precious crumb, her little flower!
HITrushki, “Happy Birthday, President of Russia”
It wasn’t until well into adulthood that the cause of Peter’s erratic behaviour was identified, and he could start managing his illness.
It was also as an adult that he uncovered a terrible incident from his childhood. After the memories began to emerge, he endured some very dark episodes.
Content Warning: Some of Peter’s story is disturbing, and is unsuitable for children.