History of Literature







Vladimir Mayakovsky




 

 


Vladimir Mayakovsky

 

Vladimir Mayakovsky

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky (Влади́мир Влади́мирович Маяко́вский) (July 19 [O.S. July 7] 1893 – April 14, 1930) was a Russian and Soviet poet and playwright, among the foremost representatives of early-20th century Russian Futurism.


Early life
He was born the last of three children in Baghdati, Russian Empire (now in Georgia) where his father worked as a forest ranger. His father was of Ukrainian Cossack descent and his mother was of Ukrainian descent. Although Mayakovsky spoke Georgian at school and with friends, his family spoke primarily Russian at home. At the age of 14 Mayakovsky took part in socialist demonstrations at the town of Kutaisi, where he attended the local grammar school. After the sudden and premature death of his father in 1906, the family — Mayakovsky, his mother, and his two sisters — moved to Moscow, where he attended School No. 5.

In Moscow, Mayakovsky developed a passion for Marxist literature and took part in numerous activities of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party; he was to later become an RSDLP (Bolshevik) member. In 1908, he was dismissed from the grammar school because his mother was no longer able to afford the tuition fees.

Around this time, Mayakovsky was imprisoned on three occasions for subversive political activities but, being underage, he avoided transportation. During a period of solitary confinement in Butyrka prison in 1909, he began to write poetry, but his poems were confiscated. On his release from prison, he continued working within the socialist movement, and in 1911 he joined the Moscow Art School where he became acquainted with members of the Russian Futurist movement. He became a leading spokesman for the group Gileas (Гилея), and a close friend of David Burlyuk, whom he saw as his mentor.



Vladimir Mayakovsky



Literary life
The 1912 Futurist publication A Slap in the Face of Public Taste (Пощёчина общественному вкусу) contained Mayakovsky's first published poems: Night (Ночь) and Morning (Утро). Because of their political activities, Burlyuk and Mayakovsky were expelled from the Moscow Art School in 1914.


Image from Mayakovsky's Как делать стихи ("How to Make Poems").His work continued in the Futurist vein until 1914. His artistic development then shifted increasingly in the direction of narrative and it was this work, published during the period immediately preceding the Russian Revolution, which was to establish his reputation as a poet in Russia and abroad.

A Cloud in Trousers (1915) was Mayakovsky's first major poem of appreciable length and it depicted the heated subjects of love, revolution, religion and art, written from the vantage point of a spurned lover. The language of the work was the language of the streets, and Mayakovsky went to considerable lengths to debunk idealistic and romanticised notions of poetry and poets.

Your thoughts,

dreaming on a softened brain,
like an over-fed lackey on a greasy settee,
with my heart's bloody tatters I'll mock again;
impudent and caustic, I'll jeer to superfluity.

Of Grandfatherly gentleness I'm devoid,
there's not a single grey hair in my soul!
Thundering the world with the might of my voice,
I go by – handsome,
twenty-two-year-old.

(From the prologue of A Cloud in Trousers.)




Vladimir Mayakovsky and Lilya Brik.


In the summer of 1915, Mayakovsky fell in love with a married woman, Lilya Brik, and it is to her that the poem "The Backbone Flute" (1916) was dedicated; unfortunately for Mayakovsky, she was the wife of his publisher, Osip Brik. The love affair, as well as his impressions of war and revolution, strongly influenced his works of these years. The poem "War and the World" (1916) addressed the horrors of WWI and "Man" (1917) is a poem dealing with the anguish of love.

Mayakovsky was rejected as a volunteer at the beginning of WWI, and during 1915-1917 worked at the Petrograd Military Automobile School as a draftsman. At the onset of the Russian Revolution, Mayakovsky was in Smolny, Petrograd. There he witnessed the October Revolution. He started reciting poems such as "Left March! For the Red Marines: 1918" (Левый марш (Матросам), 1918) at naval theatres, with sailors as an audience.

His satirical play Mystery-Bouffe was staged in 1918, and again, more successfully, in 1921.





Agitprop poster by Mayakovsky


After moving back to Moscow, Mayakovsky worked for the Russian State Telegraph Agency (ROSTA) creating — both graphic and text — satirical Agitprop posters. In 1919, he published his first collection of poems Collected Works 1909-1919 (Все сочиненное Владимиром Маяковским). In the cultural climate of the early Soviet Union, his popularity grew rapidly. From 1922 to 1928, Mayakovsky was a prominent member of the Left Art Front and went on to define his work as 'Communist futurism' (комфут). He edited, along with Sergei Tretyakov and Osip Brik, the journal LEF.

As one of the few Soviet writers who were allowed to travel freely, his voyages to Latvia, Britain, Germany, the United States, Mexico and Cuba influenced works like My Discovery of America (Мое открытие Америки, 1925). He also travelled extensively throughout the Soviet Union.

On a lecture tour in the United States, Mayakovsky met Elli Jones, who later gave birth to his daughter, an event which Mayakovsky only came to know in 1929, when the couple met clandestinely in the south of France, as the relationship was kept secret. In the late 1920s, Mayakovsky fell in love with Tatiana Yakovleva and to her he dedicated the poem "A Letter to Tatiana Yakovleva" (Письмо Татьяне Яковлевой, 1928).



Dmitriy Shostakovich, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Vladimir Mayakovsky & Alexander Rodchenko
rehearsing Mayakovsky's play Klop (The Bedbug), 1929.
 

The relevance of Mayakovsky's influence cannot be limited to Soviet poetry. While for years he was considered the Soviet poet par excellence, he also changed the perceptions of poetry in wider 20th century culture. His political activism as a propagandistic agitator was rarely understood and often looked upon unfavourably by contemporaries, even close friends like Boris Pasternak. Near the end of the 1920s, Mayakovsky became increasingly disillusioned with the course the Soviet Union was taking under Joseph Stalin: his satirical plays The Bedbug (Клоп, 1929) and The Bathhouse (Баня, 1930), which deal with the Soviet philistinism and bureaucracy, illustrate this development.


On the evening of April 14, 1930, Mayakovsky shot himself. The unfinished poem in his suicide note read, in part:

And so they say-

"the incident dissolved"
the love boat smashed up
on the dreary routine.
I'm through with life
and [we] should absolve
from mutual hurts, afflictions and spleen.

Mayakovsky was interred at the Moscow Novodevichy Cemetery.




After his death
In 1930, his birthplace of Bagdadi in Georgia was renamed Mayakovsky in his honour. After his death, Mayakovsky was attacked in the Soviet press as a "formalist" and a "fellow-traveller" (попутчик) (as opposed to officially recognised "proletarian poets", such as Demyan Bedny). When, in 1935, Lilya Brik wrote to Stalin to complain about the attacks, Stalin wrote a comment on Brik's letter:

"Comrade Yezhov, please take charge of Brik's letter. Mayakovsky is still the best and the most talented poet of our Soviet epoch. Indifference to his cultural heritage is a crime. Brik's complaints are, in my opinion, justified..."

These words became a cliché and officially canonized Mayakovsky but, as Boris Pasternak noted, they "dealt him the second death" in some circles.

In 1938 the Mayakovskaya Metro Station was opened to the public, demonstrating various innovations architecture- and design-wise, among them the display of ceiling mosaics that resemble a "fish-eye" view from the underground to the Moscow sky.

Yevgeny Yevtushenko once said As a poet, I wanted to mix something from Mayakovsky and Yesenin. Mayakovsky was, however, the most influential futurist in Lithuania and his poetry helped to form the Four Winds movement there. He was also an influence on the writer Valentin Kataev. Andrey Voznesensky called Mayakovsky teacher and favorite poet and dedicated him a poem Маяковский в Париже (Mayakovsky in Paris). In 1967 the Taganka Theater staged the poetical performance Послушайте!, based on Mayakovsky's works. Role of the poet was played by Vladimir Vysotsky, who also was inspired by Mayakovsky's poetry.

In 1974 a Russian State Museum of Mayakovsky was opened in the center of Moscow in the building where Mayakovsky resided from 1919 to 1930. Vladimir Mayakovsky and his works were a major influence on the work of Italian actor, film director and screenwriter Carmelo Bene, who interpreted Mayakovsky on the stages of theatres in Italy and on TV from the early 1970s until his death in 2002. Frank O'Hara wrote a poem named after him, "Mayakovsky" in which the speaker is standing in a bathtub, a probable reference to his play "The Bathhouse". In 1981 Brazilian singer Gal Costa recorded "O Amor" a Portuguese version of one of Mayakovsky's latter poems in her album Fantasia. In 1986 English singer and songwriter Billy Bragg recorded the album Talking with the Taxman about Poetry, named after a namesake Mayakovsky's poem. In 1991, City Lights published Listen! Early Poems, a collection translated by Maria Enzensberger. The well-known phrase "Lenin lives, lived and will live" comes from his elegy "Vladimir Ilyich Lenin".

In 2005 the north exit of the Mayakovskaya Metro Station was opened, referencing the architecture of the underground station with ample sculpturing of marble, stainless steel and another group of ceiling mosaic works, accompanied by the artist's poems. In 2009, Italian alternative rock band, Il Teatro Degli Orrori, released a song entitled "Majakowskij". The lyrics of the song are the Italian translation of his 1916 poem To His Beloved Self, the Author Dedicates these Lines (Себе любимому посвещает эти строки автор).

In 2010, in collaboration with Found Reality Theatre, students at the University of Glamorgan staged a physical theatre piece entitled The Mayakovsky Project in the Atrium, Cardiff. Using Mayakovsky's life as template, the performance posed the question, "Why do they kill the artists?"

 

 


Vladimir Mayakovsky and Socialist Realism

 


Vladimir Mayakovsky

Poems


 



“Ukranians and Russians have a common cry:
there will be no master over the working people” —
a poster by Vladimir Mayakovsky from 1920



Our March

Beat the squares with the tramp of rebels!
Higher, rangers of haughty heads!
We'll wash the world with a second deluge,
Now’s the hour whose coming it dreads.
Too slow, the wagon of years,
The oxen of days — too glum.
Our god is the god of speed,
Our heart — our battle drum.
Is there a gold diviner than ours/
What wasp of a bullet us can sting?
Songs are our weapons, our power of powers,
Our gold — our voices — just hear us sing!
Meadow, lie green on the earth!
With silk our days for us line!
Rainbow, give color and girth
To the fleet-foot steeds of time.
The heavens grudge us their starry glamour.
Bah! Without it our songs can thrive.
Hey there, Ursus Major, clamour
For us to be taken to heaven alive!
Sing, of delight drink deep,
Drain spring by cups, not by thimbles.
Heart step up your beat!
Our breasts be the brass of cymbals.

1917




Viktor Govorov
A.M.Gorky Reads on October 11, 1931 to J.V.Stalin, V.M.Molotov and K.E.Voroshilov His Fairy Tale "A Girl and Death"

 





Aleksei Aleksandrovich Vasilev
Lenin and Stalin

 


Call To Account!

The drum of war thunders and thunders.
It calls: thrust iron into the living.
From every country
slave after slave
are thrown onto bayonet steel.
For the sake of what?
The earth shivers
hungry
and stripped.
Mankind is vapourised in a blood bath
only so
someone
somewhere
can get hold of Albania.
Human gangs bound in malice,
blow after blow strikes the world
only for
someone’s vessels
to pass without charge
through the Bosporus.
Soon
the world
won’t have a rib intact.
And its soul will be pulled out.
And trampled down
only for someone,
to lay
their hands on
Mesopotamia.
Why does
a boot
crush the Earth — fissured and rough?
What is above the battles’ sky -
Freedom?
God?
Money!
When will you stand to your full height,
you,
giving them your life?
When will you hurl a question to their faces:
Why are we fighting?

1917



Ivan Alekseevich Vladimirov
Lenin and Gorki





Wladimir Serow
Lenin


 



GOOD!


(fragment, chapter14)

Over those
          whom  sleep eternal claimed
that lean,

          harsh winter
                      spread
                            a pall.
What  are words!
               Words
                    are lame!
On the Volga sores
                  I refuse
                          to dwell.
Of a string of days
                   I choose
                           to speak,
akin
    to a thousand others,
                         bleak,
pushed on
         by the years,
                      oarsmen eager,
not over-fat
            nor
               over-meagre.
If ever
       something of worth
                         I wrote
it was all
         the  fault
of a pair
         of eyes-
                  bottomless skies,
my  beloved's eyes.
Huge  they are,
round,
dark brown,
with a speck
            of hazel,
coal-hot,
        blazing.
The  phone's gone
                 stark-raving mad,
an axe's
        blunt edge
                  striking the ear:
                                   wham!
Round  the huge brown  eyes -
                             pads:
hunger's
        to blame.
Doctor's orders:
for the eyes
            to be able
to eye
       the world,

heat the place,
put greens
          on the table.
By their curly green tails -
                            behold!-
I'm holding
           two  carrots
                      crunchy.
They're not
           for my  stew:
I'm taking them to
my sweetheart,
              for her
                     to munch.
Boxes of sweets
               and flowers
                          freely
I handed  out,
              but
                 I recall
that those carrots
                  plus firewood
                 (half a billet)
were
    the most precious
                     gift
                         of all.
Thrust under my arm
                   are
damp pieces of wood:
                    knobby sticks,
eyebrow-thick.
Face puffy,
eyes-splits:
it's
    malnutrition.
Greens and care -
                  eyes clear.
Bigger than saucers,
                   they eye
                           the Revolution.
Easier for me
             than for most
             (it's no boast!)
Because I'm
Mayakovsky.

I sit and chew
a fresh
piece of horse flesh.
The door whines.
My kid sister.
"Hullo!"
"Hullo!"
"Volodya, listen,
it's New Year's tomorrow.
Got some salt
             I could borrow?"
"A pinch,
         Wet  too.
Here,
     let's divide it in two."
Wading  through  snow,
                      fighting fear,
with an
        "Oh, dear,
                  how'll I keep on my feet!"
Olga  stumbles along
the icy,
        three-mile long
                       Presnya Street.
Home
    to salt her potatoes
                        she hastens.
Frost
     walks
          beside her,
grows fierce,
             inches
closer,
      tickles
             and  pinches.
"Gimme it!
          Isn't that salt
                         you're hiding?"
Home at last,
             and didn't lose it.
But how  use it?
To  her fingers
              it's frozen fast.
Behind  the wall
               shuffling feet.
"Here,  wife,
            we gotta eat.
Trade  my  coat
              for millet,
                        will ye?"
Look  through the pane-
it's snowing again.
The snow  falls,
covering all.
Soft its step,
            yes,
               and  light.
Moscow's
         a cliff,
               bare
                   and white.
Snow lies
         in banks
                 and drifts.
Of forests
         the skeleton clings
                           to the cliff.
Daybreak.
         Into the sky's thick shawl
the sun,
        a louse,
               crawls.
December's late dawn,
                     worn out,
                              shivery,
hangs
     over Moscow
                like typhus fever.
Storm  clouds vagrant
to fat lands migrate.
Wrapped  in haze,
its chest sticking out,
                    America  lies.
What  is it doing? -
                    Lapping up
coffee
      and cocoa
               by  the cup.
Into your face,
               thick as the snout
of a good-sized pig,
          than a round tray rounder,
from  this hungering land of ours
                                I shout:
My love
       for my land
                  is boundless!

You can forget
             when
                 and where
you stuffed
          your craw
                   and your belly,
                                  but
the land
        you hungered with
                         you can never
as long as you live and breathe
                               forget!

1927
 






I.Los
Lenin and Gorki
 





Grigori Efimovich Shpolyanski
Vladimir Ilich Lenin at the Smolny Institute



 




CONVERSATION
        WITH COMRADE LENIN


 Awhirl with events,
                   packed with jobs one too many,
 the day slowly sinks
                    as the night shadows fall.
 There are two in the room:
                           I
                            and Lenin-
 a photograph
             on the whiteness of wall.

 The stubble slides upward
                         above his lip
 as his mouth
             jerks open in speech.
                                 The  tense
 creases of brow
               hold thought
                           in their grip,
 immense brow
              matched by thought immense.
 A forest of flags,
                raised-up hands thick as grass...
 Thousands are marching
                       beneath him...
                                    Transported,
 alight with joy,
                 I rise from my place,
 eager to see him,
                hail him,
                        report to him!
 "Comrade  Lenin,
                I report to you -
 (not a dictate of office,
                      the heart's prompting alone)
   
 This hellish work
                 that we're out to do

 will be done
            and  is already being done.
 We  feed and we clothe
                       and give light to the needy,

 the quotas
          for coal
                  and for iron
                             fulfill,
 but there is
            any amount
                      of bleeding
 muck
     and  rubbish
                 around  us still.

 Without you,
            there's many
                       have got out of hand,

 all the sparring
              and  squabbling
                                  does one in.
 There's scum
            in plenty
                     hounding our land,

 outside the borders
                   and  also
                           within.

 Try to
      count 'em
               and
                  tab 'em -
                           it's no go,

 there's all kinds,
                 and  they're
                             thick as nettles:
 kulaks,
       red tapists,
                 and,
                     down the row,
 drunkards,
          sectarians,
                    lickspittles.
 They strut around
                  proudly
                         as peacocks,
 badges and fountain pens
                         studding their chests.
 We'll lick the lot of 'em-
                          but
                             to lick 'em
 is no easy job
              at the very best.
 On snow-covered lands
                      and on stubbly fields,
 in smoky plants
               and on factory sites,
 with you in our hearts,
                      Comrade  Lenin,
                                     we  build,
 we  think,
           we breathe,
                   we  live,
                           and we fight!"
 Awhirl with events,
                   packed with jobs one too many,
 the day slowly sinks
                     as the night shadows fall.
 There are two in the room:
                           I
                           and Lenin-
 a photograph
             on the whiteness of wall.

1929




Boris Vladimirsk
Roses for Stalin


 





Alexander Gerasimov
Stalin and Voroshilov in the Kremlin
1938


 




My Soviet Passport


I'd tear
         like a wolf
            at bureaucracy.
For mandates
         my respect's but the slightest.
To the devil himself
         I'd chuck without mercy
every red-taped paper.
         But this ...
Down the long front
         of coupés and cabins
File the officials
         politely.
They gather up passports
         and I give in
My own vermilion booklet.
For one kind of passport -
smiling lips part
For others -
         an attitude scornful.
They take
         with respect, for instance,
            the passport
From a sleeping-car
English Lionel.
The good fellows eyes
         almost slip like pips
when,
         bowing as low as men can,
they take,
         as if they were taking a tip,
the passport
         from an American.
At the Polish,
         they dolefully blink and wheeze
in dumb
         police elephantism -
where are they from,
         and what are these
geographical novelties?
And without a turn
         of their cabbage heads,
their feelings
         hidden in lower regions,
they take without blinking,
         the passports from Swedes
and various
         old Norwegians.
Then sudden
         as if their mouths were
         aquake
those gentlemen almost
         whine
Those very official gentlemen
         take
that red-skinned passport
         of mine.
Take-
         like a bomb
         take - like a hedgehog,
like a razor
         double-edge stropped,
take -
         like a rattlesnake huge and long
with at least
         20 fangs
            poison-tipped.
The porter's eyes
         give a significant flick
(I'll carry your baggage
         for nix,
            mon ami...)
The gendarmes enquiringly
         look at the tec,
the tec, -
         at the gendarmerie.
With what delight
         that gendarme caste
would have me
         strung-up and whipped raw
because I hold
         in my hands
            hammered-fast
sickle-clasped
         my red Soviet passport.
I'd tear
         like a wolf
            at bureaucracy.
For mandates
         my respect's but the slightest.
To the devil himself
         I'd chuck
            without mercy
every red-taped paper,
         But this ...
I pull out
         of my wide trouser-pockets
duplicate
of a priceless cargo.
            You now:
read this
         and envy,
            I'm a citizen
of the Soviet Socialist Union!

1929





G.M. Shegal
Leader, Teacher, Friend

1937

 





В.Eфанов
Stalin


 




At the Top of My voice

First Prelude to the Poem

1930

(Translated by Max Hayward and George Reavey.)


My most respected
                            comrades of posterity!
Rummaging among
                             these days’
                                             petrified crap,
exploring the twilight of our times,
you,
      possibly,
                    will inquire about me too.

And, possibly, your scholars
                                           will declare,
with their erudition overwhelming
                                                     a swarm of problems;
once there lived
                        a certain champion of boiled water,
and inveterate enemy of raw water.

Professor,
             take off your bicycle glasses!
I myself will expound
                                 those times
                                                   and myself.

I, a latrine cleaner
                          and water carrier,
by the revolution
                         mobilized and drafted,
went off to the front
                              from the aristocratic gardens
of poetry -
               the capricious wench
She planted a delicious garden,
the daughter,
                 cottage,
                           pond
                                  and meadow.

Myself a garden I did plant,
myself with water sprinkled it.
some pour their verse from water cans;
others spit water
                        from their mouth -
the curly Macks,
                       the clever jacks -
but what the hell’s it all about!
There’s no damming al this up -
beneath the walls they mandoline:
“Tara-tina, tara-tine,
tw-a-n-g...”
It’s no great honor, then,
                                      for my monuments
to rise from such roses
above the public squares,
                                      where consumption coughs,
where whores, hooligans and syphilis
                                                          walk.

Agitprop
             sticks
                     in my teeth too,
and I’d rather
                   compose
                               romances for you -
more profit in it
                        and more charm.

But I
       subdued
                   myself,
                            setting my heel
on the throat
                 of my own song.
Listen,
       comrades of posterity,
to the agitator
                   the rabble-rouser.

Stifling
         the torrents of poetry,
I’ll skip
         the volumes of lyrics;
as one alive,
                I’ll address the living.
I’ll join you
                 in the far communist future,
I who am
           no Esenin super-hero.

My verse will reach you
                                    across the peaks of ages,
over the heads
                    of governments and poets.

My verse
           will reach you
not as an arrow
                      in a cupid-lyred chase,
not as worn penny
Reaches a numismatist,
not as the light of dead stars reaches you.

My verse
            by labor
                       will break the mountain chain of years,
and will present itself
                                ponderous,
                                               crude,
                                                      tangible,
as an aqueduct,
                     by slaves of Rome
constructed,
                enters into our days.

When in mounds of books,
                                       where verse lies buried,
you discover by chance the iron filings of lines,
touch them
               with respect,
                                 as you would
some antique
                  yet awesome weapon.

It’s no habit of mine
                             to caress
                                         the ear
                                                  with words;
a maiden’s ear
                     curly-ringed
will not crimson
                       when flicked by smut.

In parade deploying
                             the armies of my pages,
I shall inspect
                    the regiments in line.

Heavy as lead,
                   my verses at attention stand,
ready for death
                     and for immortal fame.

The poems are rigid,
                              pressing muzzle
to muzzle their gaping
                                 pointed titles.

The favorite
                of all the armed forces
the cavalry of witticisms
                                     ready
to launch a wild hallooing charge,
reins its chargers still,
                               raising
the pointed lances of the rhymes.
and all
         these troops armed to the teeth,
which have flashed by
                                 victoriously for twenty years,
all these,
           to their very last page,
I present to you,
                       the planet’s proletarian.

The enemy
              of the massed working class
is my enemy too
                        inveterate and of long standing.

Years of trial
                   and days of hunger
                                                ordered us
to march
           under the red flag.

We opened
               each volume
                                 of Marx
as we would open
                          the shutters
                                           in our own house;
but we did not have to read
                                         to make up our minds
which side to join,
                          which side to fight on.

Our dialectics
                   were not learned
                                            from Hegel.
In the roar of battle
                            it erupted into verse,
when,
       under fire,
                     the bourgeois decamped
as once we ourselves
                               had fled
                                           from them.
Let fame
            trudge
                    after genius
like an inconsolable widow
                                        to a funeral march -
die then, my verse,
                          die like a common soldier,
like our men
                 who nameless died attacking!
I don’t care a spit
                         for tons of bronze;
I don’t care a spit
                          for slimy marble.
We’re men of  kind,
                            we’ll come to terms about our fame;
let our
        common monument be
socialism
             built
                   in battle.
Men of posterity
                        examine the flotsam of dictionaries:
out of Lethe
                will bob up
                                the debris of such words
as “prostitution,”
                      “tuberculosis,”
                                        “blockade.”
For you,
         who are now
                           healthy and agile,
the poet
          with the rough tongue
                                           of his posters,
has licked away consumptives’ spittle.
With the tail of my years behind me,
                                                        I begin to resemble
those monsters,
                     excavated dinosaurs.
Comrade life,
                   let us
                          march faster,
march
        faster through what’s left
                                               of the five-year plan.
My verse
            has brought me
                                  no rubles to spare:
no craftsmen have made
                                   mahogany chairs for my house.
In all conscience,
                         I need nothing
except
        a freshly laundered shirt.
When I appear
                     before the CCC
                                            of the coming
                                            bright years,
by way of my Bolshevik party card,
                                                      I’ll raise
above the heads
                      of a gang of self-seeking
                                                           poets and rogues,
all the hundred volumes
                                   of my
                                           communist-committed books.
 

 




Evdokiya Usikova
Lenin With Villagers


 





Yu. P. Kugach et al.
To Great Stalin -- Glory!
1948


 



She loves me—loves me not.
                                            My hands I pick
and having broken my fingers
                                          fling away.
So the first daisy-heads
                                  one happens to flick
are plucked,
                   and guessing,
                                  scattered into May.
Let a cut and shave
                              reveal my grey hairs.
Let the silver of the years
                                 ring out endlessly !
Shameful common sense –
                                        I hope, I swear –
Will never come
                      to me.

                      2

It’s already two.
                        No doubt, you’ve gone to sleep.
In the night
                  The Milky Way
                                          with silver filigrees.
I don’t hurry,
                      and there is no point in me
waking and disturbing you
                                       with express telegrams.

                      3

The sea goes to weep.
The sea goes to sleep.
As they say,
the incident has petered out.
The love boat of life
has crashed on philistine reefs
You and I
are quits.
No need to reiterate
mutual injuries,
troubles
and griefs.

                      4

D’you see,
In the world what a quiet sleeps.
Night tributes the sky
with silver constellations.
In such an hour as this,
one rises and speaks
to eras,
history,
and world creation.
 

 


                      5

I know the power of words, I know words’ tocsin.
They’re not the kind applauded by the boxes.
From words like these coffins burst from the earth
and on their own four oaken legs stride forth.
It happens they reject you, unpublished, unprinted.
But saddle-girths tightening words gallop ahead.
See how the centuries ring and trains crawl
to lick poetry’s calloused hands.
I know the power of words. Seeming trifles that fall
like petals beneath the heel-taps of dance.
But man with his soul, his lips, his bones…

19289-1930



I.I. Brodsky
Stalin
1937


 





Oleksi Shovkunenko, Platon Biletsky and Igor Reznik
Anthem of the People's Love
1950

 

 
     
         
 

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