Print

Primorsky park Pobedy (Приморский парк Победы)

Original Text

Еще недалеко плоская коса,
черневшая уныло в невской дельте,
как при Петре, была покрыта мхом
и ледяною пеною омыта.

Скучали там две-три плакучих ивы,
и дряхлая рыбацкая ладья
в песке прибрежном грустно догнивала.
И буйный ветер гостем был единым
безлюдного и мертвого болота.

Но ранним утром вышли ленинградцы
бесчисленными толпами на взморье.
И каждый посадил по деревцу
на той косе, и топкой и пустынной,
на память о великом Дне Победы.

И вот сегодня - это светлый сад,
привольный, ясный, под огромным небом:
курчавятся и зацветают ветки,
жужжат шмели, и бабочки порхают,
и соком наливаются дубки,
а лиственница нежные и липы
в спокойных водах тихого канала,
как в зеркале, любуются собой…
И там, где прежде парус одинокий
белел в серебряном тумане моря, -
десятки быстрокрылых, легких яхт
на воле тешатся… Издалека
восторженные клики с стадиона
доносятся… Да, это парк Победы.


1950

English

Victory Park

Translated by Alistair Noon

 

Not far away, there lies a flattened spit,

black and despondent in the Neva Delta

just as it had been in the time of Peter,

covered in moss and washed by icy brine.

 

A handful of willows lived out their days there,

you'd catch a sad, decrepit fishing boat

ferrying no one, rotting on the sand.

No one would walk about that lifeless swamp,

whose only guest was the furious wind.

 

One early morning though, the Leningraders

came out in crowds towards that lonely shore,

each of them carrying a sapling to plant

upon that spit, all desolate and marshy,

in memory of the mighty Day of Victory.

 

And now today, this bright-lit garden stands,

free, spacious, clear beneath enormous skies:

the branches curl as they turn into bloom,

bees a-buzz, butterflies flitter about,

sapling oaks ripen, tender larch and lime

admire themselves in the gentle canal,

its peaceful waters, as if in a mirror...

And there, where once a lonely sail would stand,

a white shape in the silver mist of the sea,

tens of swift-winged, light yachts can crowd at will.

From the distant stadium, the cries of triumph

carry this far. Yes, this is Victory Park.

 

1950

  • Country in which the text is set
    Russia
  • Featured locations

    Ленинград (Leningrad, Petrograd, Saint Petersburg)

  • Impact

    Anna Akhmatova is considered one of the most important Russian poets of the XX-th century and besides that she is significant as the poet who experienced the fate and history of Saint-Petersburg-Petrograd-Leningrad of the last century in all its tragedy and all its glory. She has always been counted as undisputed master of style in verse and genuinely original even during the hardest years of Soviet history and being literally prohibited for publication.

    Akmatova’s verse has been translated into all European languages. Her favorite predecessor was Pushkin. The oeuvre encompasses the tradition of the Russian (and St.Petersburg) poetry of the XIX-th century (the Gold Age), to which she added new imagery and unsurpassed new  depth having become the Queen of the so called Silver Age.

    She took impulses from France in 1910-s and 1920-s and brought them back to Russia between the wars. Her person and her oeuvre of the 1910-s and 1920-s  had such impact on the contemporaries that there existed a whole group of young female poets who were called “podakhmatovkis”, e.g. those trying to compose verse like Anna the Great. Being a beautiful woman she enthralled the many talented men of her time, among which Amedeo Modigliani, Isaiah Berlin and others. Having spent the larger part of her life in “ the Fountain House” in the center of Leningrad she has become it’s legend and the living symbol of the spirit of freedom which declined to subdue to the horrors of the Stalinist age. Though many of her loved ones were sent to prisons and labor camps she declined the idea of emigration to the West. In the 1960-s Akhmatova was granted the title of the Honorary Doctor of Oxford University and was given permission to go to England for the ceremony.

  • Balticness

    The poem was written in 1950 and is a part of the collection “Glory to Peace” (Slava miru). The collection, which includes patriotic verses and even praise for Stalin, is considered to be a desperate attempt by Akhmatova to help get her son Lev released from prison. However, this particular poem tells a very human story of how the people of Leningrad who survived the war and the siege built a beautiful park on the once “desolate shore” of the Gulf of Finland. The poem contains veiled references to Pushkin’s “The Bronze Horseman”―as shown by the previous quote― and also to Lermontov’s “The Sail”, which is evoked in the image of many light yachts soaring in the silver haze of the sea instead of just one “lonely sail.”

    Polina Lisovskaya

  • Bibliographic information

    All seven poems are parts of different collections and were often published considerably later then composed. As it was impossible to publish them during Akhmatovas life some of them were published posthumously or after the beginning of perestrojka.

  • Year of first publication
    1950-s – 1990-s
  • Place of first publication
    Moscow, Leningrad