That day when war at last was brought to end…

08.05.2017

The Coastline

Aleksandr Tvardovsky

 

That day when war at last was brought to end,

And all the barrels shot for celebration

There was one minute in that hour that led

Our souls to deep and profound meditation.

 

At journey’s end, with our homes far away,

We truly said our first farewells, left standing,

To everyone who’d fallen in the war

The living parting ways with those who’d perished.

 

Until that moment, at the bottom of our hearts,

All our goodbyes were never truly final.

As if in war our parts were equal parts,

And only tally records could divide us

 

We walked together down the paths of war –

Brothers in arms, together till it’s over,

Blessed by the solemn glory of their lot,

A step away from falling down beside them.

 

So only at that special moment, there and then,

A moment filled with magnitude and sorrow,

We found ourselves eternally apart;

Our ties were severed by those celebrating volleys.

 

The roaring steel of guns brought home at last

That we will never be among the losses.

And into mist, it moves away from us –

The coastline, filled with comrades, fading.

 

And there, across the wall of days and years,

They feel those waves of fireworks separate us.

They do not dare to wave “goodbye” to us.

They do not dare to say a word. They’re silent.

 

So this is how, ashamed by our good fate,

We bid farewell to friends amid the triumph.

To those, who on the war’s very last day

Had still stood with us, ‘til a bullet found them;

 

To those who walked but only half the way

Of that great road the war forced us all to walk on;

Whose humble graves were dug in soggy clay

Somewhere along the Russian river Volga.

 

To those who at the very Moscow gates

Laid down into their deep snow beds forever,

On its front lines, the city’s last defense

In winter nineteen-forty-one, but saved her.

 

Who even dying could not hope to count

To rest in peace, their sanctuary sacred,

To find repose under a little mound,

Made by the hands of not a total stranger.

 

To all, regardless of their army ranks,

One died becoming General, another

To be a Sergeant did not have a chance,

So little time was granted to our brother.

 

To all who passed away, to all who left

To lie under the same great shade of banners,

Which have been lowered as the orders state;

For all, with no exception, everybody,

 

We said goodbye. Our guns at last grew still,

And time flew by. And over them, where planted,

The birches, willows, maple trees, and oaks

For many times grew leaves, which then descended.

 

But leaves will sprout again, as years go ‘round,

Our kids will grow, and grandkids’ generations,

But every celebration’s fireworks sound

Will call for memory of that great separation.

 

Not just because we have to keep our word,

That this is the remembrance we owe them;

Not just because, oh no, not just because

The winds of war so restlessly keep blowing.

 

The immortality of those who’ve turned

To earthly dust — it teaches us true valor.

No, even if the victims of that war

Became the last on our entire planet,

 

Could, really, we, just leaving them behind,

Live on, in private happiness, without them,

Their land not seeing with their eyes, 

Not hearing with their ears, the world around us?

 

And walking each along our given path

At the doorstep of death, our road concluded,

Within ourselves how could we help but sense

Their reprimand, or maybe their approval?

 

Are we but grass? Are they but grass as well?

No. We won’t lose this mutual connection.

It’s not the power of death, but brotherhood,

That even death is powerless against it.

 

To you, who fell in that titanic battle,

For our harsh land to be a place of blessing,

To you and those who live, in equal part

I dedicate my each and every new song.

 

You’ll never read them, neither will you hear.

Line after line on pages they lie muted.

But you are mine, and you were with us here,

You recognized my name and heard my voice, my brothers.

 

To that mute land, domain of silent death,

From where no one returns to share the intel,

You took along a part of me, my friends,

Torn right out from a humble army paper.

 

I’m yours, my friends, and I owe thanks to you,

As to the living, I’m to you indebted.

And if I, in my weakness, tell a lie,

And thus embark on a forbidden journey,

 

And pronounce words that trusted cannot be,

Then even before spreading them all over,

Not knowing how the living will react;

I will hear your rebuke, though it be wordless.

 

The judgment of the fallen means no less

Than that of those who live, so let it thunder

Inside my soul, until my dying day –

Salute to the Great Victory and Parting.

 

With this poem by Aleksandr Tvardovsky, we congratulate the veterans of the Great Patriotic War, and the servicemen of the Donetsk People’s Republic and Russian Federation, and all the people of the world with the upcoming Day of the Great Victory over fascism. Aleksandr Tvardovsky was a famous Soviet poet and writer. During the Great Patriotic War, he served as a war correspondent. His poems about the Great Patriotic War are deeply lyrical, and at the same time, passionate. These poems, glorifying the heroic deeds of ordinary Soviet soldiers and the Red Army as a whole, have an unbelievable power to create a link between the dead and the living, between the generations, and to exhort the people to struggle for their ideas and ideals.

 

“Silence” by V. Solovyova, 2005.

Essence of Time

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