Yudina

Sneeroes abound, but there are heroes too.
I praise a heroine of the Soviet Union,
pianist Yudina, through Moscow’s gloom
spelling a Mozart magical concerto.
The monster of the Kremlin heard, beguiled;
telephoned the conductor. ‘I require
at once the record.’ Crisis: there was none.
But who can quibble when a deity speaks?
Through the night hours soloist, orchestra
were summoned back. By morning the recording
was laid on Stalin’s desk. Yudina wrote,
‘Comrade Stalin, I’m glad you like this music;
I love it too, and with the gift I promise
each night I’ll pray for you and your black soul.’
She went unscathed.
Soon afterwards they found him
Slumped on his study floor in deathly coma,
Mozart’s concerto in the record-player.

Tributes