Monday, April 26, 2010

A "Russian-American Romance" to End Our Journey

As soon as I read the poem "Russian-American Romance," I knew that it would be a perfect conclusion to my blog on Russian literature. Andrei Voznesensky has been called one of the "most controversial poets of post-Stalinist Russia" (Pushkin). He wrote during the midst of the Cold War - he was first published in the 1950s - after being mentored by Pasternak. He continues to write and speak today at 77 years of age and lives in Moscow.

Russian-American Romance

In my land and yours they do hit the hay
and sleep the whole night in a similar way.

There's the golden Moon with a double shine.
It lightens your land and it lightens mine.

At the same low price, that is for free,
there's the sunrise for you and the sunset for me.

The wind is cool at the break of day,
it's neither your fault nor mine, anyway.

Behind your lies and behind my lies
there is pain and love for our Motherlands.

I wish in your land and mine some day
we'd put all idiots out of the way.

This poem hits at the heart of the Cold War attitude. The speaker points out similarities between the people of the Soviet Union and the people of the United States. Both groups of people experience sunrises and sunsets, moonlight and wind, peaceful slumber. And, most importantly, the "lies" that the governments of each country tell each other, and their own people, are in defense of and becuase of love for the motherland - be it Russia or America. Voznesensky sees the conflict between the two world superpowers as caused by a bunch of "idiots" whom he would like to see "put out of the way." He knows that, deep down, the people are cut from the same cloth. The enemies are more similar than they believe they are. In those similarities, they may find peace.

What really strikes me about this poem is its title. Instead of referring to the conflict as a war, Voznesensky calls it a "romance." And this romance continues today. I am currently taking a History of Russia course. Americans are still fascinated with this country, arguaby more so than with any other country in the world. We want to know who the people are, why the Cold War happened, and what the future holds for Russian-American relations. Russia holds an air of romance that will likely never fade. It will live on in its customs and, especially, in its literature, which even today continues to capture the essence of Russian belief and tradition. America will forever be tied to Russia. It is time we started noticing the similarities instead of the differences; for only when we can relate to a culture can we fully appreciate it.

Pushkin, Michael. "Andrei Voznesensky". The Literary Encyclopedia. 01 Nov 2005. Web. 26 April 2010

No comments:

Post a Comment