Starting a new line of blog posts on Poetry. This is essentially inspired by Sanjeev Naik who spends every AM (morning) and PM (evening) looking up some of the best poetry (and tweets it). Do search for #Poetry to get a real time feed if you want.

Today, three Russian Poets are profiled: Anna Akhmatova, Osip Mandelstam and Marina Tsvetaeva

About Anna Akmatova, @sanjeevn tweets

“Today I have so much to do: I must kill memory once & for all, I must turn my soul to stone, I must learn to live again”
A “Frankly, I don’t give a damn” like end to this poem “Don’t stand out in the wind.

The poem that Sanjeev is referring to is quoted here:

I wrung my hands beneath my veil…
“Why are you so pale today?”
– Because I forced him to get drunk
On sorrow’s sour wine.

How can I forget? He lurched outside,
His mouth was twisted up in pain…
Not touching the banister, I ran down,
I ran after him to the gate.

Gasping, I cried: “It was but a joke
All of it. If you should leave, I’d die.”
He smiled a calm and horrible smile
And said: “Don’t stand out in the wind.”

8 January 1911, Kiev

About Osip Mandelstam, he tweets:

A bonus for this Sunday: Another Russian poet (also a Acmeist poet like Akhmatova) for the day – Osip Mandelstam

“This is what I most want / unpursued, alone / to reach beyond the light / that I am furthest from.”

“A pattern set down, until now, unknown. Breath evaporates without trace, but form no one can deface.”

“We live without sensing the country beneath us, At ten paces, our speech has no sound”

Osip died in the Gulag

Then Sanjeev comes up with the third – Marina Tsvetsaeva.

Am tempted to make it a trio of Russian poets here for Sunday – Marina Tsvetaeva, who prophetically wrote

“Scattered in bookstores, greyed by dust &time / Unseen, unsought, unopened, &unsold/ My poems will be savoured as are rarest wines”

“What shall I do, singer & first-born, in a world where the deepest black is grey, & inspiration is kept in a…”

More poems by Tsvetaeva “Patiently, as one grinds gravel Patiently, as one awaits death..”

The last poem “Patiently” can be read here

The scrape of runners, the answering scrape
of a door: the roar of Taiga winds.
A royal decree arrives:
– Coup d’etat and the grandee is coming.

Homeward bound:
To the beyond –
Yet mine.

That’s all for now. Let’s see what Sanjeev has in store for us tomorrow.


One thought on “Poetry Post: Russian Poets

  1. Funny how Russian poets more or less known outside the country are thode from the first half of the Xxth century. Totally symmetrical thing: the last poet in English most Russians know is, say Eliot.

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