Why have I been reblogging so much Soviet paraphernalia? Because I am still reading Ian Frazier’s Travels in Siberia, which I absolutely love.
I feel guilty, because it’s National Poetry Month, and my field of study is poetry, and I should be blogging poetry (which I am, actually, but over at OAR). In lieu of a great post on poetry today, here is a passage from Frazier’s book:
Telling us again that her name was Galina, she pointed down the hill to where she said she lived in her own izba (cabin) with a small black dog and a milk cow. She asked us if we liked poetry. She wrote poetry herself, she said; now we would hear her read her poems. The next we knew we had been walked from the church down to her cabi, which was a tiny, rustic affair with grass growing on the roof and a door frame barely taller than she was…Galina began to declaim her poems after first announcing to us the quality of each one. Some she described as “very good,” some as merely “good.” The sonorousness of her reading reverberated pleasantly in the little open-air roofed shelter where we were sitting, but the poetry’s style was antique and I couldn’t understand a word. After each poem she nodded her head appreciatively while we smiled and murmured praise.
and here is the poem by Blok that it brings to mind:
Девушка пела в церковном хоре
О всех усталых в чужом краю,
О всех кораблях, ушедших в море,
О всех, забывших радость свою.
Так пел её голос, летящий в купол,
И луч сиял на белом плече,
И каждый из мрака смотрел и слушал,
Как белое платье пело в луче.
И всем казалось, что радость будет,
Что в тихой заводи все корабли,
Что на чужбине усталые люди
Светлую жизнь себе обрели.
И голос был сладок, и луч был тонок,
И только высоко, у Царских Врат,
Причастный Тайнам,- плакал ребенок
О том, что никто не придет назад.
It is the first poem I memorized in Russian. More poetry posts soon, once I catch up from my conference weekend.