These trees still keep the spirit of poetry

Настя Булавинова училась на журфаке СФУ, но в прошлом году всей семьёй они переехали в Москву. И теперь Настя — столичный житель, обучается в РГУ им. А.Н. Косыгина (по-прежнему — журналистике). В Красноярске Настя писала в нашу газету — о событиях, о людях, о кино и пр. А сейчас она прислала для читателей УЖ зарисовку о Пастернаке (кстати, их студенческая группа как-то в выходные убирала могилу писателя и поэта; а один из преподавателей, театрал, устроил публичные чтения в музее под музыку, пение). Вспомнив, что мы в газете практиковали публикации текстов на английском для тренировки знания этого языка студентами СФУ, Настя решила продолжить опыт. И потренироваться сама — в написании текста на английском!

Literature teachers often talk to students about places like Yasnaya Polyana and Tsarskoye Selo. Peredelkino village, however, seems to be a less popular topic of their stories, but Soviet authors took shelter there walking through the century-old trees and contemplating life, love and poetry. That is the place where Boris Pasternak created his stories and where he died.

The trees

After a twenty minute train trip from the center of Moscow you’ll notice a white two-storied House of Creativity and its’ wide balcony. There is a lot of black-and-white portraits of famous and unknown people on the walls of the first floor. The building is surrounded by a forest that has not so many trees, and the trees are dry and old. Half of them have basically become stumps because of strong winds. The administration has decided to take away the broken one, but modern artists disagreed, as those are the ones that still keep the spirit of poetry. They watched Boris Pasternak writing "Doctor Zhivago" and suffering from the hatred of contemporaries. They listened to Bella Akhmadulina reading her poems aloud. They felt the pain of

Alexander Fadeev writing a suicide note and taking his life by a gunshot. They knew the lives of dozens of Soviet classics, who received dachas in Peredelkino thanks to Maksim Gorky, better than anyone.

The thing is that writers tried to build a special village with dachas for authors in the 1930s here, but soon they understood that it could not happen without a help of treasury. Maksim Gorky then persuaded the government to allocate houses that authors could use free of charge.

Recently, artists have organized some installations in these places to preserve the memory about the poets who lived there. Artur Bondar and Oxana Yushko pinned photos of classics taken in Peredelkino to the surface of stumbs and shabby tree trunks. Maria Kalmikova and Maksim Protsenko used hand tools to turn several trees lying on the ground into eyes larger in size than human body. "These places historically have a negative atmosphere. There were informants who reported on writers. The eyes watch us" — Maria commented on the installation, putting an iron circle which she uses as an iris to a curved trunk. The eyes watch what Peredelkino, where artists resist criminals and drunk tourists, is going to become.

The exile

Some of my mates and I went to Peredelkino just to have a walk and to feel the atmosphere of poetry. We passed by dozens of dachas and opened a short gate. We saw an enormous two-storied brown house with windows taking almost the whole walls. A rope was stretched between the

building and the garage. Lots of paper sheets with parts of poems in Russian and English were attached to it. The inscriptions seemed to say that a writer and translator used to live in the house. Most of them belong to Boris Pasternak, who has spent his last 24 years there with his late love Olga Ivlinskaya.

This dacha was a place of Pasternak's exile and the only house where nobody was afraid of him and where he had the respect of the people. They respected his style of thought and life.

The beams of the sun were dimly shining through the windows. There was nothing unnecessary on wooden tables. There were some pictures made by his father on the walls. It looks like the rooms were never touched by the woman's hand. The soul of meditative ascetic walks from room to room in that lifeless and empty house.

Boris Pasternak was writing "Doctor Zhivago" there, and after he finished it in ten years, there wasn’t a single newspaper in USSR ready to publish his novel. But Italian publishers took it. In Holland people published the book for the first time. In Belgium and Austria people gave the pocket-sized book for free to Russian tourists. In USSR people bullied the author, organized meetings against him and avoided him in the village. Pasternak had to refuse the Nobel's prize because of the bullying.

The pain brought the writer to the coffin. The coffin which is covered by cruelty in a Peredelkino's cemetery. The coffin which tourists are walking on, they’re taking photos of a white marble monument, reading poems of Pasternak, who was acknowledged only after his death. But now the coffin stands surrounded by other dead poets who hated him or quietly agreed with him. The cost of a place in the cemetery is not measured by money, but by the value of their works.

The eternity

After getting rid of our bottomless bags we are walking on a small road through a tiny lake and then go up to the hill. The evening sun, passing the wood, lies on grey and stones that all look the same. The stones stand in several rows. There is a big inscription "Member of CPSU" on the bottoms of these stones. There are names of these members and two numbers written with a dash between them.

There is another one near them. It is tall, white and made of marble. It looks new. Black letters show us a nickname — Korney Chukovsky, only one number — 1882, a dash and nothing else.

Yellow and red leaves, which are ready to fall down from the trees and die, rustle over our heads. The secrets of silent people, whose names stay in our lives forever, hide under our legs.