“Down with death.” Photo by the Russian Reader
No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Then you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world, with vilest worms to dwell:
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it; for I love you so
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O, if, I say, you look upon this verse
When I perhaps compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse.
But let your love even with my life decay,
Lest the wise world should look into your moan
And mock you with me after I am gone.
Source: Poetry Foundation
I wouldn’t be surprised if, fifteen or twenty years from now, when the dust has long settled in Syria, the names of the dead have been forgotten by the entire world except the people still alive who knew them personally, and Russia has once again become a “newly emergent” democracy with a free press and free elections, an enterprising middle-aged Russian scholar sat down to write the history of our darker, troubled times and, if only in a longish footnote, made the patently false claim that most Russians had been vehemently opposed to the deposed dictator Putin’s barbarous bombings in Syria, and there even had been a broad-based albeit mostly low-key anti-war movement in Russia at the time. TRR
Photo: 23 February. Happy Fatherland Defenders Day! 24 February 2018, Central Petersburg. Photo by the Russian Reader
Black Sun (1908)
Life is frittered away in anguish and shock,
Its way unbound.
Each moment, like a step towards the chopping block,
Makes the chest pound.
The brighter the day, the darker the strife,
The duller the hour.
As in the past, the minute tells lie after lie
O’er and o’er.
My home, my abode is the peopleless vast
of earthly fields,
Where my rebellious soul is aghast
And weeps like a child.
In the moon’s hour, like a raven on a grave,
I go wan.
Having seen through life’s deceit, I anticipate
Source: World Art. Photo and translation by the Russian Reader