There are in Leningrad, aside from the sky and the Neva,
Wide, empty squares, overgrown foliage.
And aside from the statues, and bridges, and dreams of a nation,
And aside from glory, which swells like an unhealed wound,
Glory, which roams the prospects at night,
Virtually unseen, of silver and ashes,
There are rigid eyes and that,
Mysterious muteness,
Those bitterly clenched teeth, those rings around the heart,
That they alone may have spared it from death.
And if you granite, learn from those burning eyes:
They are dry, dry when even a stone weeps.


-Ilya Ehrenburg (Translated by me)


5 Responses to “Leningrad”

  1. Beautiful stuff. I’ve only really gotten into Mayakovsky as far as Russian poetry goes. Any recommended poets I should try out next?

  2. mikhailych Says:

    Thanks. As for further reading, well, there are always the Russian classics, Pushkin, Lermontov, etc…if you want more Soviet poetry, try Akhmatova, Brodsky. I’m a big fan of Vysotsky…Basically, the list is very long. Try finding an anthology.

  3. Mandel’shtam is another favorite from the Soviet era.

  4. mikhailych Says:

    Oh, good call Lisa. Don’t know how he slipped my mind. Gbem1, also, check out Kevin Kinsella’s blog for more Soviet poetry: http://reddomino.typepad.com/languor_management/

  5. I just remembered this bilingual online anthology of Russian poetry. It has lots of poetry plus some biographical information. I particularly like the audio!


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