My conversations with my parents. They are in Kharkiv, Ukraine, the city is being shelled by russian army for over four weeks.
March 24, 2022.
One month since the senseless atrocity of the war changed our lives. The night was hard (large explosion nearby) but the day was lighter, there were bad news and good news. We talked about Ukrainian chalk mountains, classical Ukrainian voices (I found some on Spotify!) and then switched to Pushkin, and his ugly stance toward Poland, and a wonderful and so timely poem by Adam Mickiewicz.
Here is an English translation of the poem (from here):
To my friends Russians
You - do you remember me! I, whenever I dream
Of my friends' deaths, exiles, prisons,
And I think of you: your foreign faces
Have the right of citizenship in my dreams.
Where are you now? The noble neck of Ryleyev,
Whom I clasped like a brother, by Tsarist sentences
Hangs to the disgraceful tree;
A curse to peoples, who murder their prophets.
This hand that Bestuzhev stretched out to me,
The bard and soldier, this hand from pen and gun
The Tsar pulled it into a wheelbarrow;
Today is chained in mines, next to the Polish hand.
Others may have suffered a heavier punishment;
Maybe one of you is disgraced by an office or an order,
Sold his free soul into the mercy of the Tsar
And today bows on his doorstep.
Perhaps he praises his triumph with paid tongue
And rejoices at his friends' martyrdom,
Maybe in my homeland he bleeds with my blood
And before the Tsar, as of merit, boasts of his curse.
If to you, far away, from free nations,
These mournful songs will come, to the north
And call from the above to the land of ice, -
Let them herald to you freedom as cranes herald spring.
You shall know me by my voice; while I was in the fetters,
Crawling silently like a serpent, I deceived a despot,
But to you I discovered the secrets locked in my feelings
And for you I had always the simplicity of an angel.
Now I pour out this cup of poison on the world,
The bitterness of my speech is corrosive and burning,
The bitterness sucked from the blood and tears of my homeland,
Let it tear and burn, not you, but your fetters.
Whoever of you raises a complaint, for me his complaint
Will be like the barking of a dog, who will be so disposed
To the long-suffering and long-wearing collar,
That at last he is ready to bite the hand that grips it.