Category Archives: Royalty

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OTMA’S LAST POETRY: TRUTH

From her diaries and letters concerning her, Olga was thought to have the best idea out of her family of their eventual fate. Toward the end of her life, she was aloof and very depressed. She spent a lot of time with her ill brother, Alexei,  and in her own thoughts. This last photograph of her with her brother on their last train ride speaks thousands of words:

Little brother, Alexei, and Olga on the train to what would end up being their final destination in 1918. This picture shows an aging and wise princess.

It brings up many questions. And Olga often asked many questions. I believe she naturally searched for truth.

Truth by O
What is truth?

Pilate’s timeless questions
Is well-worth to mention.

Often, truth is in front of us
Which we try to ignore,
Wash , and spill our guilt to the floor.

We can all spout off a list
Of who’s the one to blame
And then read our owns names with shame.

Every person in this house
Must ask themselves what is true
And decide what they’re going to do.

We are accountable
To search for the facts
And then our following acts.

Wherefore, we must all answer to—

What is truth?

Around 1914

Around 1914

 

Poem © Sarah Patten

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OTMA’S LAST POETRY: TO ALEXANDER

Tatiana played the diplomat family at the Ipatiev House. She would make requests on her family’s behalf.

She had exchanged letters with Siberian Prince Alexander. Though Tatiana probably wasn’t in contact with him the last couple months of her life.  I wrote  a poem about how letters from him might have made her feel in the mist of war and chaos.

To Alexander by T

Every single letter–
Every glorious letter–
From you is like a psalm
Its music heals and makes me feel better
Yet, it’s hard to stay calm
When the heavenly envelope
Is placed in my palm.
How hard it is to cope!
When I read your note
My smile grows
At what you wrote.
That is how my love for you goes.

Tatiana in 1914, the same year when possible marriages negotiations started between her and Alexander. Her father  quickly stopped it though because he wanted his daughters to marry someone of their own choice.

Tatiana in 1914, the same year when possible marriages negotiations started between her and Alexander. Her father quickly stopped it though because he wanted his daughters to marry someone of their own choice.

 

King Alexander. As a prince he couldn't stop staring at Tatiana at a dinner. Though the two never became bethrothed, she was a great loss to him when he heard about her death.

King Alexander. As a prince, he couldn’t stop staring at Tatiana at a dinner. Though the two never were  betrothed, he was devastated of her death.

 

Poem © Sarah Patten

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OTMA’S LAST POETRY:EACH PERSON

In 1918, the Romanov Imperial Family was moved to the Impatiev House, their final destination. Maria and her parents were the first to come. On the journey, she talked to civilians, and at the destination, she proved to be the friendliest of the family toward the guards. She showed them her photos and asked about their families.

Each Person
by M upon arrival

If each person could live
The way the Lord taught
Then each person would not
Show hate, but instead forgive

Each person has a family–
Gentile, Muslim, Christian, and Jew
Even the cook, teacher, and sharpshooter too
Each person has kin–like you, like me.

Doesn’t each person
Want their mother to sing them to sleep?
You never realize the love in your heart
Until you’re apart
And try not to weep.

Each person I’ve met abroad
Should praise and sing
That we’re the Lord’s offspring–
Each person is a child of God!

Maria_Nikolaevna_1914

Poem © Sarah Patten

otma pic continues

OTMA Poems Continue

I can’t begin to imagine how the Romanov family managed to get through their last days, but I tried to put myself in their places and have expressed it through poems.

Notes:
The poems will not go in birth order—meaning starting with Olga then going to Tatiana and so on. It’s going to be more chronological of the events of the family’s last days.

The first round of poems had the sisters’ pictures featured as the cover photo. With the exception of Tatiana, those pictures were some of the last known pictures of the sisters.The rest of these poetry posts (starting October 21, 2017) will include pictures of the sisters within the text from different eras of their lives.

 

Olga, Tatiana, and Marie-a.k.a. OTMA

OTMA’S Last Poetry Project Introduction

The Romanov execution occurred July 17, 1918 in the basement of the building, the Ipatiev House. The family spent their last months at the house which was also known as the “House of Special Purpose.” When studying about the events at the house, you get a sort of preview of how the family members would act in their final moments.  The family’s reactions varied. The two elder sisters, Olga and Tatiana, held on to each other. The middle sister, Marie, put up a good fight and Anastasia went unnoticed at first before she was killed. (Yes, each member of the family was murdered.)

The Romanov’s last days and the house’s atmosphere included a variety of boredoms, friendliness, and tensions.  It’s an incredible story where everyone seems to have their own agenda, strengths, and flaws. What is exactly was going through their heads? Part of my exploring includes writing poetry from the viewpoint of the sisters—Olga, Tatiana, Marie, and Anastasia—also known officially as OTMA during their lives. My humble “hypothetical’ project has been depressing, fun, and fulfilling. I’ve written multiple poems from the viewpoint of each sister and hope to do more.

And don’t worry—note every poem will be posted.

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The Princess, the King, and the Tyrant

It’s strange to start out with the moral at the beginning of the story, but that’s exactly what I’m going to tell you. No, Maximilien Robespierre will tell you:

Robespierre_crop

Maximilien Robespierre was a well-spoken leader who led with terror.

 

“Citizens, take warning; you are being fooled by false notions.”

Those words are taken from an address to justify the execution of Louis XVI.

Ludvig_XVI_av_Frankrike_porträtterad_av_AF_Callet

King Louis XVI of France wanted peace.

It also sums up what others would feel toward Robespierre as time went on. Basically, it leads to the question: What is truth?

Maximilien Robespierre had pushed for Louis XVI’s execution but wasn’t for Princess Elisabeth’s, the King’s sister.

44Elisabeth Viigee Le Brun-Madame_Elisabeth

Princess Elisabeth of France. The King’s youngest sibling.

Yet, she was executed May 10, 1794. And a couple months later, Robespierre would be executed.

The lives of the Princess, the King, and the Tyrant were connected way before the French Revolution.

Losses

An important place to start is the year of 1764. It was important to both the Robespierre and the Bourbon families.

In May, Maximilien Robespierre turned six, and the royal Bourbons welcomed a baby princess.

In July, Robespierre’s mother gave birth—to a stillborn son. She died soon after. Robespierre’s sister recalled in her memoirs this death changed him. He lost his childhood. In addition to that, his father left the family. The man who was supposed to be one of the most important  role models in a young boy’s life distanced himself from his children. I consider this to be Robespierre’s first major rejection.

The Bourbon children lost their parents to death within three years of Princess Elisabeth’s birth.

Successes

Despite losing parents young, Louis, Elisabeth, and Robespierre were all very intelligent and accomplished individuals. Just to mention some examples: Louis excelled in languages; Elisabeth in mathematics; Robespierre in rhetoric. All three wanted to be models of virtue. The Bourbon children took a religious approach while Robespierre leaned on secular philosophies.

Elisabeth carried a certain charm from her earliest days. Despite being a wild child, Elisabeth grew up to be lovely and known for her piety and wit. There were three proposed marriages, but in the end, she and her brother, now King, agreed that she would stay with the family.

Sometime early in Louis’ reign, he and his wife stopped by the school Robespierre attended. In fact, Robespierre was handpicked to give a speech in Latin at the special ceremony for the King and Queen. It turned out to be a dismal day. It was rainy, the monarchs were running late, and when they did arrive, they stayed in their carriage for the speech and ceremony. They left promptly after the ceremony. Robespierre had just been rejected by high society.

Life’s not fair! Right, Robespierre?

But Robespierre was a bright student and would eventually move up his way into politics after completing school. He started on a small scale during the king’s early reign. Louis and Marie-Antoinette had more of a positive image then.

To someone like Robespierre, it probably seemed as if the King had everything. Besides not agreeing with the King’s politics, I think there were other things that Robespierre  would find bothersome about the King. Louis XVI had obtained power through family deaths. He had a beautiful family, and he had a live sibling born in 1764. The King got a free pass while Robespierre slaved away to get to the top.

Annoying Sister

Elisabeth annoyed her sister-in-law at times. She could surprise her brother. But there was never any doubt that these individuals cared for one another, and that the King and Queen would be eternally grateful to Elisabeth for staying with the family to the very end.

Elisabeth felt she was following God’s plan for her. She was heaven sent in the eyes of Louis and his family.

She was certainly a type of nuisance for Robespierre. If only she had escaped like some of her other family members, he wouldn’t have been caught in a desperate situation.  He fought for her at her trial. But he lost. He just wanted her to be exiled, not guillotined.

People marveled at her poise during her trial and execution.

She had just turned thirty the week before she was executed in May 1794.

Fooled by False Notions

More and more people considered themselves “fooled by false notions.” The new government had stressed equality and virtue— so why were so many being punished and put to death?

Robespierre and his comrades became distrustful of one another. They too felt they had been fooled. They weren’t as loyal as they professed they would be. He had helped to reform this new society, and now he and former allies were betraying each other. This was  Robespierre’s third and final rejection.

Robespierre was executed in July 1794. Had his stillborn brother lived, he would have turned thirty a few weeks before—the same age as Elisabeth, who had met her death in her birthday month of May for being loyal to family. An eerie coincidence.

While I don’t accept that Robespierre is scapegoat of history, I do feel sorry for him. He had all these ambitions and felt that to fulfill them, he needed to take away life. In the end, the curse he set on so many rebounded on him.

 

Sources:

Maxwell-Scott Mary Moniac. Madame Elizabeth de France, 1764-1794.

Robespierre, Charlotte. Charlotte Robespierre’s Memoirs: Part 1.By   http://revolution-fr.livejournal.com/2370.html  accessed August 16, 2016.

Ten Brink, Jan. Robespierre and the Red Terror. 1899.

Trail and Execution (French): de Beauchesne, Alicide-Hyacint

Images:
Princess Elisabeth of France by Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun (Public domain in U.S.) 1782

Portrait of Louis XVI by Antoine-Francois Callet. 1788 (Public Domain in U.S.)

Portrait of Maximilien Robespierre. 1790 (Public Domain in U.S.)