How Russia speaks

I just love the sound of the Russian language – so rich and tragic.  This documentary –

Russian Poetry – BBC World Service Documentary: How My Country Speaks

– tells the stories of Russians persecuted  simply for writing poetry.  Not only is it fascinating, but as a bonus it includes readings of the poetry.  My favourite is at around 07:00. Here it is, translated by Fay Marshall:

Making Jam in July by Inna Kabysh

A woman who’s making jam in July

is resigned to living with her husband.

She won’t escape with her lover, secretly.

Otherwise, why boil up fruit with sugar?

and observe, how willingly she does it,

as a labour of love,

even though space is at a premium

and there’s nowhere to store the jars.

A woman who’s making jam in July

is preparing to be around for a while.

She intends to soldier on, to hibernate

through the discomforts of winter.

Otherwise, for what reason, and notice,

not out of any feeling of duty,

should she be spending the short summer

skimming residue off jam?

A woman who’s making jam in July

in all the chaos of a steamy kitchen,

isn’t going to be absconding to the West

or buying a ticket to the States.

That woman will be scrambling out of snowdrifts,

buoyed up by the savour of the fruit.

Whoever’s making jam in Russia

knows there isn’t any way out.


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