Black Russian Spring


The Rooks Have Returned by Alexey Savrasov

It’s economist husband and I’s favorite season – the best time of the year. Russia really is the choice place to appreciate spring in all its glory – melting snow, sunshine, longer days. After the long bleak months of winter, can you really blame us for being so enthusiastic? Spring means light, hope, warmth and a new beginning here.

Not to jump to hasty conclusions, but I think it’s not much of a stretch to say that, out of all the world’s talented artists, Russian poets, painters and writers just might have a unique corner on capturing the essence of the vernal season.

Thus it is, for your blog-perusing pleasure, that I present you with two tributes to spring from a couple of the Russian cultural greats:

1. The Rooks Have Returned, by Alexey Savrasov (as pictured above)

2. Black Spring, by Boris Pasternak (translation by his younger sister, Lydia Pasternak Slater)

Black spring! Pick up your pen, and weeping,
Of February, in sobs and ink,
Write poems, while the slush in thunder
Is burning in the black of spring.

Through clanking wheels, through church bells ringing
A hired cab will take you where
The town has ended, where the showers
Are louder still than ink and tears.

Where rooks, like charred pears, from the branches
In thousands break away, and sweep
Into the melting snow, instilling
Dry sadness into eyes that weep.

Beneath – the earth is black in puddles,
The wind with croaking screeches throbs,
And-the more randomly, the surer
Poems are forming out of sobs.

-Boris Pasternak, translation by Lydia Pasternak Slater (aren’t these lovely words?? Spring really is black in Russia at first – thawing, dirty with dark patches on the ground like a blotchy, tear-stained face. But then it all really does form into poetry because we’re just so glad the winter is over!!!)

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2 Responses to Black Russian Spring

  1. Pingback: Stress and Thanks: Weekday Faith | Breakfast in Moscow

  2. Pingback: Work, pride, and legitimacy: Weekday Faith | Breakfast in Moscow

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