Three Robinson Crusoes
in an abandoned shack, we found a real find - a single, battered book. We three were friends and we quickly agreed to share out this treasure as Solomon decreed. The foreword for cigarette paper: one friend was delighted with a gift so unlikely he feared he was dreaming. The second made playing cards from the notes at the back. May his play bring him pleasure, every page bring him luck. As for my own cut - those precious jottings, the dreams of a poet now long forgotten - it was all that I wanted. How wisely we'd judged. What a joy to set foot in a forgotten hut. by Варлам Тихонович Шаламов (Varlam Tikhonovich Shalamov) ( 1949) translated by Robert Chandler
Additional Information: The poem refers to (Евге́ний Абра́мович Бараты́нский ) who was lauded by Yevgeny Abramovich Baratynsky Alexander Pushkin as the finest Russian elegiac poet. After a long period, where his reputation was on the wane, Baratynsky was rediscovered by the Russian Symbolism poets as a supreme poet of thought. Like this: Like Loading...
In rainy weather
they gather together
To double – redouble –
a stake was no trouble,
They did not find it hard
to entrust to a card
So no day of rain
ever slipped by in vain,
Александр Сергеевич Пушкин (Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin)
a.k.a. Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin
This piece of course precedes Pushkin’s famous short story ‘The Queen of Spades’.
I found this 1916
silent film adaption in the Expressionist style, made famous by works such as Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, with burnt in English subtitles (give it a few moments at the start as they don’t show up immediately) which might be of interest if you have an hour to spare.
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Poor poet, was that really you,
addressing the moon in rhyme?
My eyes were dulled so long ago
by love, by cards and wine.
The moon climbs through the window frame.
White light, so white it blinds you…
I bet on the Queen of Spades,
but I played the Ace of Diamonds.
Сергей Александрович Есенин (Sergei Alexandrovich Yesenin)
a.k.a. Sergey Yesenin / Esenin
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