“Babi Jar ravijn” by Markv from nl. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Babi_Jar_ravijn.jpg#/media/File:Babi_Jar_ravijn.jpg
More than a hundred thousand people – and more than thirty thousand in a single day – were massacred by the Nazis at Babi Yar, outside Kiev, in the Second World War. Yevtushenko’s poem rails against the Soviet regime, which preferred not to acknowledge what had happened. He wrote it in 1961, before Brezhnev made such expression difficult again. Shostakovich used Yevtushenko’s text for his great thirteenth symphony.
At Babi Yar no memorial presides.
A rough and looming cliff is the tombstone.
I am old today – the tides
of ages join my years with Jewish people’s.
It seems to me that now
I’m a Jew.
Ancient Egypt the scene of questing wander.
That was I nailed to cross on Calvary yonder,
until today the marks of nails I show.
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