Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Poetry Wednesday--Konstantin Simonov

In February 1942, when the Germans were being driven back from Moscow, Pravda published a lyric which immediately won the hearts of our troops. It was "Wait for me". Soldiers cut it out of the paper, copied it out as they sat in the trenches, learned it by heart and sent it back in letters to wives and girlfriends; it was found in the breast pockets of the killed and wounded. In the history of Russian poetry it would be hard to find a poem which had such an impact on the people as "Wait for me". It made the Soviet officer and Russian poet - Konstantin Simonov - world famous.
(Editor's introduction to Simonov's Selected Poems, 1964)

Wait For Me
to Valentina Serova

Wait for me, and I'll come back!
Wait with all you've got!
Wait, when dreary yellow rains
Tell you, you should not.
Wait when snow is falling fast,
Wait when summer's hot,
Wait when yesterdays are past,
Others are forgot.
Wait, when from that far-off place,
Letters don't arrive.
Wait, when those with whom you wait
Doubt if I'm alive.

Wait for me, and I'll come back!
Wait in patience yet
When they tell you off by heart
That you should forget.
Even when my dearest ones
Say that I am lost,
Even when my friends give up,
Sit and count the cost,
Drink a glass of bitter wine
To the fallen friend -
Wait! And do not drink with them!
Wait until the end!

Wait for me and I'll come back,
Dodging every fate!
"What a bit of luck!" they'll say,
Those that would not  wait.
They will never understand
How amidst the strife,
By your waiting for me, dear,
You had saved my life.
Only you and I will know
How you got me through.
Simply - you knew how to wait -
No one else but you.

1941

Special thanks to http://www.simonov.co.uk for the poem and the introduction .

8 comments:

newguy40 said...

I remember this poem from Lawrence Olivier reading it in an episode of "The World at War". Just seeing it again here brought that haunting loneliness and hope against hope back to me.

Here is the Olivier reading if interested...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQ2gMcFx3No

Dymphna said...

Oh my goodness! My dad watched "The World at War" but at the time I was young and didn't have the interest. I'm going to have to watch it now. Thanks!

kkollwitz said...

Thanks for this....never heard of it 'til just now. It reminds me of the song Katyusha, which covers a similar situation from the girl's viewpoint.

Dymphna said...

You're welcome. I hadn't heard about it until I found it recently.

Barbara said...

Very eloquent. Thanks for posting this.

Dymphna said...

You're welcome, Barbara.

TACParent said...

Beautiful poem. Poems like this last and last.

Dymphna said...

True. The sentiments are always new.

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"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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