Raskolnikov — Part 1: Chapter 1, Stanza 2

More of Crime and Punishment à la Pushkin.

If you read, please feel free to critique.


Although his clothes are all a motley
Old crazy quilt of rag and patch,
Down here, nobody eyes him oddly:
In this poor neighborhood, they match.
He’s in arrears to his landlady.
(He dodged her on the stairs.) He’s prayed he
Won’t be forced by fate to meet
Some former classmate in the street.
‘Raskolnikov!’ the fool would holler,
‘At last! What happened? Don’t pretend
You haven’t time to talk, old friend.
Here, let me help a fellow scholar….’
The fancied friendship makes him sick.
He strides the sidewalk triple-quick.


  1. Again, I don’t like the quadrameter.

    Too sing-songy. Which is fine, perhaps for Austen or even George Eliot, but for existential angst?

    That said, the rhymes for the most part come off naturally. “Oddly” sticks a bit in the throat (adverbs as rhyme words are generally a penny a pound – ought to be outlawed).

    Also, he certainly captures a good deal of the detail from the novel in a fine way.


    • An exception may perhaps be made for those wishing to rhyme “oddly” with “godly” or “levelish” with “devilish.”

      • Especially since those last two aren’t even adverbs. I’ll get out of the big boys’ pool now.

      • I agree on “godly” being acceptable – it has a sort of life of its own and enough rhetoric baggage that one almost doesn’t see it as an adverb.

        Hey, why is the water in here so warm…and yellow?


        • Matthew Lickona says

          My head hurts. I was thinking of an acceptable use of “oddly,” you rascal. Everybody knows it’s “godlily,” just like “lovelily” is the adverbial form of “lovely.” Hee hee!

  2. Matthew Lickona says

    Getting back to the project at hand: I want to see this in finished form, so that I can pass it around at a party, each guest reading a stanza aloud and passing it along. Angelico, when are you coming to visit again?

    • Oh! Jealous!

      (Unless of course Angelico comes out to Gerasene…)


      • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

        And I’m jealous of yall all for having a conference I can’t (barring some Cube-Mystical bilocation) attend this year.

        Envy, Caution

    • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

      Turning Crime and Punishment into a party game? Now that’s a flash of genius worthy of a Lycurgus or a Napoleon.

      For myself, I am a person of the lesser sort — the common and law-abiding sort, who would not think of inviting themselves into the home of another. But Lord knows I’d love to make a return visit. Even at the risk of driving past San Onofre.

      Another thought: Do you all have any plans for any future visit(s) to Thomas Aquinas College? I’ve never been, but have wanted to see the place ever since pictures of the chapel first popped up on the Internet. Meeting the Lickonas would be as good an excuse as any to visit TAC, and a better one than most.

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