Not Pushkin


However much we might want it to be, this daguerreotype isn’t Pushkin, though it is often claimed that it is. He died before it could have been possible. A chap called Urri Grimm published this poem on Facebook a few days ago. It was ascribed to Pushkin almost immediately – though never by its author. It says much about Pushkin’s hold over the Russian spirit that every Russian amateur is fated to mimic him – and I’d be pretty chuffed if I were Mr Grimm. But Pushkin would have a sting in the tail – and tales of his piety are somewhat exaggerated…

But then I chanced on this

Permit me, people of this land
In this, the hour of spirit’s anguish
To greet you as I captive languish –
Enjoy this feast of spring at hand!
For calm must come, this won’t be doom,
Your sadness and your fear won’t tarry,
The roads again will smoothly carry
And as before, the garden bloom.
Upon sweet reason we shall call,
Abolish sickness with its power
And we’ll survive this testing hour
As members of one family, all.
And purer, wiser we shall be,
To fear and darkness shan’t surrender,
A lighter spirit we shall render,
A closer, kinder world agree.
And at the festive table spend
Our lives again in soul’s rejoicing,
And may our God with blessing voicing
To every home joy’s morsel send!


Позвольте, жители страны,
В часы душевного мученья
Поздравить вас из заточенья
С великим праздником весны!
Всё утрясётся, всё пройдёт,
Уйдут печали и тревоги,
Вновь станут гладкими дороги
И сад, как прежде, зацветёт.
На помощь разум призовём,
Сметём болезнь силой знаний
И дни тяжёлых испытаний
Одной семьёй переживём.
Мы станем чище и мудрей,
Не сдавшись мраку и испугу,
Воспрянем духом и друг другу
Мы станем ближе и добрей.
И пусть за праздничным столом
Мы вновь порадуемся жизни,
Пусть в этот день пошлёт Всевышний
Кусочек счастья в каждый дом!

Translation by Rupert Moreton

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