Poem Motherland by Konstantin Simonov
A translation of “Родина”.
The three great oceans touching
She lies, the towns and cities are spread out,
Covered with the net of meridians,
Invincible, broad and proud.
But at the moment when the last grenade
Has already been raised
And in a flash you should recall at once
Everything that in the distance has remained,
You won’t remember an immense country
Which you travelled all over and cognized –
You will remember Motherland such
As you in childhood memorized.
A plot pressed against three birch-trees,
A far-away pathway beyond the forest,
A brook and a ferry-boat creaking,
A sandy bank and low willow branches.
It’s where you had the luck to come into being,
Where for life, till your dying day, you have found
The very handful of soil which would aid you
In discovering signs of the whole ground.
Yes, one could survive in intense heat, and storm, and frost,
Yes, one could starve and endure cold,
March into death… But these three birch-trees
For ever and ever you have to enfold.
Касаясь трёх великих океанов,
Она лежит, раскинув города,
Покрыта сеткою меридианов,
Непобедима, широка, горда.
Но в час, когда последняя граната
Уже занесена в твоей руке
И в краткий миг припомнить разом надо
Всё, что у нас осталось вдалеке,
Ты вспоминаешь не страну большую,
Какую ты изъездил и узнал,
Ты вспоминаешь родину – такую,
Какой её ты в детстве увидал.
Клочок земли, припавший к трём берёзам,
Далёкую дорогу за леском,
Речонку со скрипучим перевозом,
Песчаный берег с низким ивняком.
Вот где нам посчастливилось родиться,
Где на всю жизнь, до смерти, мы нашли
Ту горсть земли, которая годится,
Чтоб видеть в ней приметы всей земли.
Да, можно выжить в зной, в грозу, в морозы,
Да, можно голодать и холодать,
Идти на смерть… Но эти три берёзы
При жизни никому нельзя отдать.
© by owner. provided at no charge for educational purposes
That cool, but my fav is still the rhyme in brat( brother) ll about the mother/fatherland.
If you cant find it, lemme know. I’ll do something.
Speaking of, those two flicks are Russia’s besssstesssts. Along with Voyna/War.
Just cool. Like the glorious leader.
I know the poem and it is quite touching although much better when spoken in Russian.
Last Sunday after service we had brunch with Father Giorgei and other Church members. A reporter was there, we know her for two years from Battery and other places and she knows the rules. She asked me to speak off the record and I agreed as long as she handed her video camera/recorder to her cameraman and he was escorted away by one of the guards.
She asked me what I thought of Sevastopol and the events here and would I ever go home. I thought for a moment and replied.
“My heart is in Sevastopol and where your heart is your soul is therefore my soul is in Sevastopol. How could I go home when I am already home, home in Sevastopol, Russia?”
My wife had trouble translating that short statement because she and the other dozen or so women were weeping by the time she finished including the reporter. The men, well, we are all veterans and men so a bottle magically appeared and was passed around among all of us.
Reminds me of a ‘mantra’ we were fond of singing
in an ‘ashram’ somewhere between Lisbon and Vladivostok:
Home is where the heart is
Home is where the heart is
My heart is with you.
Thanks, Scott, for this beautiful poem on the Motherland. I found myself crying just a bit from the beautiful men and women reciting it.
The three trees segues into what I wanted to talk about on this Good Friday in the East. There also were three trees on Calvary and the underlying poetic message there was about the Motherland of the Earth. Russia is a good place to start the revolution of love.
John the Beloved of the last gospel of good news learned from Jesus to speak plainly to those who were ready but to use parables for the general public. I think here in the vineyard there are some who are ready for the raw truth.
If nothing else Good Friday is saying that life is serious business. It can get you killed which I think the men and women in uniform understand well.
After 2000 years we still haven’t understood Jesus and John’s message or we wouldn’t have the rivers of vlolent blood shedding that we do. We don’t understand Motherland, much less Loverland.
From the cross Jesus said to John, his beloved disciple: “Behold your Mother.” He may have been referring to his mother, the earth mother or Russia’s mother. But there is no doubt he was talking about a mother.
Jesus cried out: “my God, my Father, why have you abandoned me?” His mother was right there with him to the end, as Michelangelo’s Pieta memorializes.
There were three trees and three Mary’s who stayed with him. Mary his mother, Mary his lover and Mary his sister. His disciples all fled except John. The message is clear.
Mary, his lover, said: “You died for me. I will die for you. She picked up the blade and ran it right through.”
When it was all over, Mary his sister went back to her brother Lazarus and her sister Martha, the one who did the work while she sat and listened to Jesus at his feet. Jesus said Mary chose the better part, closer to the heart.
This is the version you won’t hear in church or from the authorized bible.
A soldier pierced Jesus’ side and “blood and water flowed out.” This is yet another clue John and Mary left for us. Where does blood and water flow out from naturally if not a womam’s body? The message is clear again: nature and womam saves, not a patriarchal blood system. If a system of blood violence can’t save in 2000 years it is not working.
The lovers’ bed of paradise has been elevated to an altar of sacrifice of animals, women, children, men and the world itself. The message is clear: the system is not working.
When Jesus died the veil of the temple was torn in two. The old system was declared over. The true Holy of Holies was revealed. The Motherland Body of the Lover.
When the veil split the three tree doors were also revealed. On the first door were the words: Make War; on the second: Make Money; and on the third Make Love. The Lover is saying we will sleep in the bed we make.
Regarding bible stories and stories in general, the victor writes them. The Roman Empire had its hand in the stories about Jesus just as the Romantic Empire does now. The greatest story ever untold is the true story of love. John had to write in code or he would have been crucified too. It’s up to us to have the wit to read between the lies.
The cross is a Roman sword plunged into the earth with the handle and hilt in the air. It was foretold that a sword would pierce Mary’s heart. It didn’t say which Mary, the mother, the sister or the lover. However, again the underlying message is clear: the motherland of Russia and the loverland of the earth is the ultimate burying ground.
The love of womam will save us. The love of man has been tried for 2000 years and found wanting. Jesus told us this in his love for womem and children, even prostitutes and good thieves who were with him when the deal went down.
“She was the Rose of Sharon from paradise lost
From the city of seven hills near the place of the cross
She told about Jesus, told about the rain
Told about the plain where her brothers were slain”
In 312 Constantine saw the Chi Rho Cross Sign like the sun at the Milvian Bridge with the words: in this Sign you will conquer. That sign conquered the whole empire.
Times have changed. The empire reconquered the cross so now we need another sign. Mary gives us this sign at her feet and over her head: the crescent moon, the preeminent sign of Womam who is not woman.
Jesus was born in a stable (some say a vineyard) and died on a cross. Not a pretty picture. He challenged the empire and the devil in the lion’s den. They said it couldn’t be done but he won the war after losing every battle.
The message is clear for those whose heads are clear. Jesus is She’sus. Mary is the Magna-line of love. The three kings came from the East, past the three crosses to the three trees of Russia where they gave their gifts to the Motherland.
He is one of my favorite of the modern poets. And this is one of his other poems I admire:
Remember, Alyosha, the roads of Smolenshchina,
Remember the rain and the mud and the pain,
The women, exhausted, who brought milk in pitchers,
And clasped them like babies at breast, from the rain.
The whispering words as we passed them – “God bless you!”
The eyes where they secretly wiped away tears!
And how they all promised they would be “soldatki”,
– The words of old Russia from earlier years.
The road disappearing past hills in the distance,
Its length that we measured with tears on the run.
And villages, villages, churches and churchyards,
As if all of Russia were gathered in one.
It seemed that in each Russian village we passed through,
The hands of our ancestors under the sod
Were making the sign of the cross and protecting
Their children, no longer believers in god.
You know, I believe that the Russia we fight for
Is not the dull town where I lived at a loss
But those country tracks that our ancestors followed,
The graves where they lie, with the old Russian cross.
I speak for myself, but in countryside Russia
It first came about that I learned to belong
To the tedious miles between village and village,
The tears of the widow, the women’s sad song.
Remember, Alyosha, the hut at Borisov,
The cry of the girl as she mourned, and the sight
Of the grey-haired old woman, her velveteen jacket,
The old man, as if dressed for death, all in white!
And what could we say? With what words could we comfort them?
Yet seeming to gather the sense of our lack,
The old woman said “We shall wait for you, darlings!
Wherever you get to, we know you’ll come back!”
“We know you’ll come back!” said the fields and pastures,
“We know you’ll come back!” said the woods and the hill.
Alyosha, at nights I can hear them behind me.
Their voices are following after me still.
By old Russian practice, mere fire and destruction
Are all we abandon behind us in war.
We see alongside us the deaths of our comrades,
By old Russian practice, the wound to the fore.
Alyosha, till now we’ve been spared by the bullets.
But when (for the third time) my life seemed to end,
I yet still felt proud of the dearest of countries,
The great bitter land I was born to defend.
I’m proud that the mother who bore us was Russian;
That Russian I’ll fall as my ancestors fell;
That going to battle, the woman was Russian,
Who kissed me three times in a Russian farewell!
Written to Aleksii Surkov
Here is a few of his poems: http://allpoetry.com/Konstantin-Simonov
And here a famous poem of his from the war years now used against the Ukrainian fascists today.The video is subtitled in English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4iRuBm_Z-g
I don’t speak or understand a word of Russian, but listening to this filled me with emotion.
I love you, Russia.
I like “Zhdi menya” (didn’t take time to access the Cyrillic). Recently had my wife in a local U.S. hospital for a lumbar puncture, where the PA doing the work was a Kazakh lady with a Russian name, whom I’d greeted in Russian when I was introduced to her. I stepped into a waiting room when she did the procedure itself (used to diagnose Hydrocephalus), not wanting to watch, while my grown daughter remained. The Kazakh lady asked when I was coming back. I replied (showing off):
Zhdi menya, i ya vernus’, tol’ka ochen’ zhdi, etc., etc., through the 1st verse. She inhaled sharply; seemed to tear up. The poem is still remembered, although she was probably in her 40’s.