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Hey Rube....

Lets go east this week

General Views Of Saint Petersburg - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia: Host City Candidate Photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images

On scorched and conflagrated sands,

In sapped and grudging desolation,

The solitary Upas stands Grim sentinel of all creation.

This thing was spawned one day of rage

From nature of the thirsting plain

That slaked the death-green foliage

And deep-set roots with sap of bane.

The venom oozes down the bark

Turned liquid in the midday blaze,

Congealing at the fall of dark

To clots of cruel, translucent glaze.

No tigers come, no birds alight.

None but the wind’s black breath will dare

Circle around that tree of blight

And leave with newly deadly air.

And, should an errant cloud imbue

With rain the rank leaves’ laden glands,

The branches drip a toxic dew

Onto incendiary sands.

But once a man dispatched a man With one dread glance to that dead waste And he obeyed. Away he ran

And brought the poison back with haste:

Its lethal sap, its waxen bough

And desiccated leaves. The sweat

Across his sallow, stricken brow

Ran in a chilling rivulet.

He brought it, stumbled and sprawled, prone

Beneath the tent for his reward: A poor slave’s death before the throne

Of his invulnerable lord.

And in that poison brew the Tsar

Dipped arrows under his command,

And loosed perdition near and far

On men of every neighboring land.

The Upas Tree - Alexander Pushkin

Portrait of Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin... Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images