This poem was composed by E. Yevtushenko 40 years ago and sounded as if he himself predicted his own death happened to be this year. I am reading a wonderful book of collection of Yevtushenko’s verses (the book itself is a piece of art published as a series of Library of World Famous Literature with original cover pictures by Marc Chagal and George Brack) which was sent to me by school mate Emma Mahova from Bryansk, Russia, and I am very thankful to her for this invaluable gift. All which was written by poet, is familiar to tears. His images are so understandable, which I can relate to.
I agree one hundred percent with his sense of personal civil responsibility for the events occurring at his and my time, his deep feelings for old people, alcoholics and many rank-and-file people. His originality of thinking resulted in his images, and even the self-portrait which is to the right, shows himself as a Siberian Madonna, also related to his connection to his native land where he was born, village Zima.
Interesting, isn’t it?
Below is the translation by Alec Vagapov of the verse by Yevtushenko:
“Should the clover rustle in the meadow
or a pine-tree in the wind should sway
I will stop and listen and remember
that I, too, will pass away some day.
When I see a boy, a pigeon-fancier,
standing on the roof, right on the brink,
I believe that death is not the answer,
dying is a ruthless thing, I think.
Death is what we ought to be aware of.
We shall perish but our world survives;
those who will replace the dead, however,
cannot substitute for their lives…”