Not a cow or sheep in grey fields. Rain sings in the culverts,
slides the gate-bars, brambles and grasses, glints in tyre-ruts and hoof-prints.
Only the springer’s fur flowers white, will o’ the wisp under a gate
across a field short-sightedly reading the script of the fox.
A sudden wheel of starlings turns the hill’s corner, their wings a whish
of air, the darkening sound of a shadow crossing land.
At a touch my bare ash tree rings, leafed, shaken,
the stopper of ice dissolved in each bird-throat,
the frozen ash become a burning bush.
by Gillian Clarke
Additional information: All Souls’ Day, also known as the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed and the Day of the Dead, is a day of prayer and remembrance for the faithful departed, which is observed by Roman Catholics and other Christian denominations annually on 2 November.
Examples of regional customs include leaving cakes for departed loved ones on the table and keeping the room warm for their comfort in Tirol and the custom in Brittany, where people flock to the cemeteries at nightfall to kneel, bareheaded, at the graves of their loved ones and anoint the hollow of the tombstone with holy water or to pour libations of milk on it. At bedtime, supper is left on the table for the souls.
On and on we go over steppes, forests, swamps, and grasslands, still yet a long, long way to go, still yet many who will lie in ditches. … Fate is harsh: you there will go to the end, you will not, you will tell grandchildren all of it, you will die as the dawn barely breaks, blinded by a pistol’s fire. But ours is to go on, and on, tearing calluses, not eating, not sleeping, not drinking, through forests, hills, and deaths – in an open field! To live is what we want, we want to live!
By Илья Маратович Кричевский (Ilya Maratovich Krichevsky) (3 February 1963 – 21 August 1991) (1981) translated by Albert C. Todd
(фрагменты) . Мы идем и идем по степи, По лесам, по болотам и травам. Еще долго и много идти, Еще многим лежать по канавам. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Рок суров: кто дойдет, а кто нет, И расскажешь ты внукам об этом, Ты умрешь, как забрезжит рассвет, Ослепленный огнем пистолета. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Но идем мы, идем, раздирая мозоли, Нам не есть, нам не спать, нам не пить, Смерть везде, смерть в лесу, за холмом, в чистом поле… Как смертельно нам хочется, хочется жить! . . . .
Additional information: I was only able to find a fragmented version of the poem in Russian but it matches the English translation I had as reference. It is possible it was always intended to be in that form but any help on clarifying the matter would be appreciated as there is so little information on him in English.
His only collection of poetry Красные бесы (Red Devils) was published in Kyiv during 1992.
Gorbechev also decreed that the families of the three defenders Dmitry Komar, Ilya Krichevsky and Vladimir Usov would receive a one-time award of 250 rubles each and a Zhiguli car from VAZ. Later, by decree of Boris Yeltsin, Krichevksy was posthumously awarded the second ever “Defender of Free Russia” medal.
He was a Jewish Russian and there is an interesting story regarding his funeral. It was held on the sabbath, when no work or activities outside the home should be done, but Yeltsin insisted. It is speculated this was in order to publicly show the country needed to break away from the previous era’s Soviet symbols, values and practises. His grave has a memorial statue beside it.
Krichevsky is one of the three killed on the Sadovoye Koltso road during the August 1991 putsch that attempted to overthrow the government of Mikhail Gorbachev. For some time he had been bringing his work to the seminar in poetry conducted at the journal Iunost’, and the discussion of his poetry had been scheduled for the fall of 1991.
Biographical information about Krichevsky, p.1058, ‘Twentieth Century Russian Poetry’ (1993), compiled by Yevgeny Yevtushenko (ed. Albert C. Todd and Max Hayward) , published by Fourth Estate Limited by arrangement with Doubleday of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc. (transcribed as found in the original text).
Yevtushenko later said he wrote the song in response to conversations he had with foreigners while travelling in western Europe and the United States. The lyrics evoke the peaceful Russian countryside, the memory of the millions of lives lost in the Second World War, and the friendly meeting of U.S. and Soviet soldiers on Elbe Day.
On Thursday 24 February 2022 Russian citizens were heard singing the song at protests held in St Petersburg and Moscow. After these protests were broken up, by authorities in riot gear, it was apparently remarked by civilians “в России запрещено говорить, что русские не хотят войны…” (“In Russia it is forbidden to say Russians do not want war…”)
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