Had some difficulties, and a terrible period of melancholy. On finally sitting down to get on with my previously started “prose”, I was struck by something I would now struggle to clearly describe, and driven by this strange mood I began to feverishly churn out something of real significance in verse. I say something, because I cannot for the life of me make out how exactly this new “Poem on One Dear” will work out.
All has been quiet on the front since mid-December, and the Tsar has felt his presence at headquarters to be superfluous. Each day he has received news over the direct line in the evening. The Tsar’s snooker room is full of military maps, so that no one, not the children, not the servants and not even the Empress, has dared enter for fear of disturbing them. The keys were last seen with the Tsar. The recent snowstorms and the danger they represent to the supply question in the capital have given Their Majesties great cause for concern.
We went to the Imperial Porcelain Factory, where we bought a few things.
America was busily getting ready for war. As ever, the greatest help came from the pacifists. Their vulgar speeches about the advantages of peace as opposed to war invariably ended in a promise to support war if it became “necessary.” It is a well-known axiom that pacifists think of war as an enemy only in time of peace.
In Rome of an evening whores ply their trade in automobiles - at walking pace - they accost their clients with smiles and gestures and stop the car to negotiate the price.
We have got to come out as strongly and bluntly as possible against the ridiculous pacifism of the French (achieving socialism without revolution, and so on) and the ridiculous belief in democracy.
We ran with Malevich and filed a transfer request for Moscow, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. It’s impossible to do anything alone but there’s no one else. Exter was sick. There’s some kind of emptiness and solitude, and we’re senselessly beating on the walls, and there’s no one there or left.
The most tragic incident occurred in the Kiev Grenadier Regiment, which I was part of not long ago. One of the regiment’s companies staged a mutiny. A bunch of scoundrels led by a volunteer, who managed to escape, snuck up to the dugout where the regiment commander and battalion commander sat, fired several shots through the window, followed by grenades. Mashkovskii, one of the officers, was killed on the spot and another four officers were wounded.