A Letter to Paris (Письмо в Париж), Yevgeny Yevtushenko

“our motherland is such a country / that fosters never-ending urge to flee”

lingua fennica

Georgy Viktorovich Adamov Georgy Viktorovich Adamovich

Written in 1965, in this poem Yevtushenko, a Soviet poet who stayed (for all that he had considerable freedom to travel), addresses Georgy Adamovich, who spent most of his life in exile in Paris. Russia claims you whether you want it to or not…

Yevtushenko’s verse is rather less free than it might at first appear. He’s also something of a punner – or at least I think he is. I’ve tried to capture some of the innuendo I think surrounds his use of the verb “ми́нуть“, which means “to elapse”, but which in its third person singular present form resembles a noun – though the stress moves to the second syllable – that means something different.

Когда мы в Россию вернемся?       Г. Адамович
When will we return to Russia?       G. Adamovich

The cross alone salvation cannot buy.

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