Tuesday, February 25, 2020

UNBOUND - by Nancy Levin


by  Nancy Levin

we may never know
how we hold
all we can
or how the light catches us
when we are out of breath

it’s a sign of healing
to be feeling again

the real breakthrough
can only arise
from heartbreak

that which ails
reminding us
that it’s always about beginning
and then beginning again

as the waves crash me
I trust the sand
to polish my edges smooth
dissolving denial
revealing real while
courage and confidence
ignite my core

contraction and expansion
let the light stream in
and the stillness
after so much thrashing about
allows the body to wring
the sorrow out

as freedom floods
shadows may persist
know your undertow
as you alchemize the dark
and remember
that you always have
the strength to choose
how to engage

the clouds unveil the view
when you are ready to climb
now it’s time to notice
the miraculous moments
in your life
as they are happening

is the making
of me
and we will walk
into daybreak
from the night
shining our light

NEVER STOP - by Jay Pulinka


by  Jay Pulinka

If I could take your pain I would.
Stand strong for you like I should.
I would be your rock, your mountain, your wall.
Catch you everytime you started to fall.
Bring you joy and happiness and steal the hurt within.
But your guard is always up you never let me in.
Your pain is mine and I wish you could see.
The people who have hurt you now have hurt me.
I'm not asking you to forgive or forget.
But know in me you bring out the best.
I'm there for you cause that's what I do.
Maybe someday you will know my feelings are true.
Your smile lights up a room but your eyes are filled with pain.
Why hold on to the agony? What is there to gain?
With us all I can do is pray.
That all of your bad memories don't get in our way.
You saved me from my demons and I promise this is true.
And now I'm locking horns with your past to try and save you
Just know I'm here for you and my heart is yours.
Your all I think about and all I adore.
I've been waiting for you my whole life and now you're here.
The woman of my dreams but she's filled with fear.
I will help you through this put you back on top.
You are my Heart , My Passion and fighting for you

YOU AND I - by Elijah


by   Elijah

At the thought of you
my eyes love teary drops
It makes me smile but at times weary
How can one love a woman so much
When a memory of you plays in my mind
I know everything about expression
I know pain with a glass in hands
I sleep with the radio on because I miss you
I hear your swift sweet sighs of breath
You make anew what grief destroyed
Your the reviver of old departed memories
I'm a man and I got to let a woman go
You're moving forward in another man's arms
I hope he sees nature doesn't make one like you
Can't you see it's got to be the Lord
Who makes you so beautiful
And everything that He done touched
Like your Mind, Body and soul
Is enough to be my world
It's not a fluke
that I'm still here waiting for you
That if you drop a glass
A glass in thousand pieces
Can mirror my heart

Sunday, February 23, 2020



Rafael Maria de Soto y Hernandez was born February 18, 1904 in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. His parents were Milagros and Domingo DeSoto, a noble Spanish banking family descended from the famous conquistador, Hernando de Soto. There were seven children in the family. Rafael was the third born.

In 1915 the family was devastated by a financial crisis and the father died of a heart attack. Eleven-year-old Rafael was sent to St. Joseph's Seminary in San Juan, where he was trained to be a priest. His natural artistic talent was noticed by Father Noel, who sent Rafael to private art lessons with a local artist, Diaz McKenna. After completing his education at St. Joseph's, Rafeal decided to become an artist rather than go to Rome to complete his religious training. "I liked girls too much!"

In 1923 at age nineteen he moved to New York City to live with an uncle, who was a tailor on the Lower East Side. With only a schoolbook command of English, he found work at an advertising company.

In 1930 he began to draw interior story illustrations for Street & Smith's western pulp magazines.

In 1932 he began to sell freelance cover paintings to pulp magazines, such as Detective Book, Five-Novels Monthly, Top-Notch, War Stories, Western Story, and Wild West Weekly.

He met Frances Mason, a model and a seamstress who worked at Bergdorf Goodman's. They dated for six years. In 1939 they married and moved to 4330 Forty-Sixth Street in Sunnyside, Queens.

He sold freelance pulp covers to Ace G-Man Stories, Ace Sports, All Detective, Black Book Detective, Champion Sports, Dime Detective, Dime Mystery, Phantom Detective, Popular Detective, The Spider, Ten Detective Aces, Terror Tales, Thrilling Detective, Western Aces, and Western Trails.

The pulp artist, Richard Lillis, was DeSoto's closest protege, a helpful model, and even a studio assistant. In 1941 DeSoto discovered Gloria Stoll, a seventeen-year-old discouraged high school graduate art student that lived in his apartment building, and inspired her to be a commercial illustrator. She went on to a significant career as a pulp artist and later an abstract painter.

Circumstantial evidence gathered from interviews with the artist's family and friends previously indicated DeSoto produced several cover paintings for rival publishers under the assumed name, Irene Endris. Not only were these paintings in the style of DeSoto, but his tax accountant had a similar name. Nevertheless, conclusive proof has since been discovered that these paintings were in fact produced by another artist, whose real name was Irene Zimmermann, and whose mother's maiden name was "Endris." Please see a biographical profile on both Irene Endris and Irene Zimmermann also on this website.

In 1942 during WWII Rafael DeSoto reported for his draft registration and physical exam. He was discovered to have Type-2 diabetes and was classified as 4-F. He was among the few professional pulp artists to remain fully active during the war years.

In 1944 he and Frances moved to East Patchogue, NY, on Long Island. They had no children. In 1946 Frances DeSoto died from cancer.

He produced pulp covers up until the demise of the industry in the 1950s, for such magazines as Adventure, Argosy, Black Mask, Captain Zero, Crack Detective, Fantastic Novels, 15-Story Detective, Fifteen Western Tales, New Detective, Smashing Detective, and Walt Coburn's Western Magazine.

He also sold freelance illustrations to slick magazines, such as Argosy, Colliers, Coronet, Ladies Home Journal, The Journal American, Liberty, Redbook, and The Saturday Evening Post.

In the 1950s he also produced many paperback book covers for Ace, Bantam, Dell, Lion, Signet, and Pocket Books, including the iconic "H Is For Heroine" for Popular Library.

He met a local model on Long Island, Audrey Skaare, and they were married in 1951, and raised four children, Rafael, John, Maria, and Lisa.

He also painted many covers and interior story illustrations for men's adventure magazines, such as Action For Men, Adventure, Battle Cry, For Men Only, and True Adventure.

In 1964 DeSoto retired from freelance illustration and began teaching art at State University of New York (SUNY), Farmingdale, where he worked for ten years. He enjoyed teaching so much that he continued to hold private evening art classes in his studio for the rest of his life, along with a constant demand for his commissioned portraits.

According to the artist, "I love painting. It's not only because I like to paint and I have spent my whole life doing it, but I recommend it for everyone. When you are painting you forget all of your troubles. Your brain can only concentrate on one thing at a time, and when you are concentrating on that painting, you forget everything else! That's good therapy! I am still looking forward to doing the most interesting painting I have ever made. I have some more to do. I'll be going after it until I die."

Rafael DeSoto died of pneumonia in a Long Island hospital at age 88 on December 24, 1992.

SHINING ARMOR - by Sunday B. Fakus


by  Sunday B. Fakus

At the peak of my 
heart's desire,
Alone in the depth of my 
fractured mind,
A stolen joy by lovers past
And sweet memories 
once forgotten, were recaptured;
I found a new love...
my broken heart was restored.

There, almost reaching 
the end of the road,
At the crossroads of want
and rejection,
I paused in the liberty of my own,
Wondering where my
thoughts would finally lead,
Until you appeared on the scene
and settled the scores within.

At the ocean of emotions
where horizon meets the sun
Voices of love heard
from the sound of your heartbeat;
Resounding echoes of trust
and assurance you gave,
Streams of yearning, 
hope of living fulfilled, 
as you became my knight 
in shining armor.

WAVES - by Natalie Marie Onken


by   Natalie  Marie  Onken

They arise from the deep blue
Towering over head
Then toppling down with a thunderous crash
In the night the moon changes their color
Silver that shines and smoothes out the ripples
When looked upon from the outside
Strength and power are illuminated
But when looked upon by lovers
A true reflection is shown
The reflection of true love floating in the waves
Shows the intentions of the hearts
Through just one gaze
One wave is all it takes
In all its power and glory
To make two people fall deeper in love
As I did when I stood with you
Gazing into the ocean of lovers.



Ruben Dario

Juventud, divino tesoro,
ya te vas para no volver!
Cuando quiero llorar, no lloro,
y a veces lloro sin querer...
Plural ha sido la celeste
historia de mi corazón.
Era una dulce nińa en este
mundo de duelo y aflicción.
Miraba como el alba pura,
sonreía como una flor.
Era su cabellera oscura,
hecha de noche y de dolor.
Yo era tímido como un nińo;
ella, naturalmente, fue
para mi amor hecho de armińo,
Herodías y Salome...
ˇJuventud, divino tesoro
ya te vas para no volver!
Cuando quiero llorar, no lloro,
y a veces lloro sin querer,
La otra fue más sensitiva,
y más consoladora y más
halagadora y expresiva,
cual no pensé encontrar jamás.
Pues a su continua ternura
una pasión violenta unía.
En un peplo de gasa pura
una bacante se envolvía...
En sus brazos tomó mi ensueńo
y lo arrulló como a un bebé...
Y le mató, triste y pequeńo,
falto de luz, falto de fe...
ˇJuventud divino tesoro,
te fuiste para no volver!
Cuando quiero llorar, no lloro,
y a veces lloro sin querer...
Otra juzgó que era mi boca
el estuche de su pasión;
y que me roería, loca,
con sus dientes el corazón,
poniendo en un amor de exceso
la mira de su voluntad,
mientras eran abrazo y beso
síntesis de la eternidad;
y de nuestra carne ligera
imaginar siempre un Edén,
sin pensar que la Primavera
y la carne acaban también...
ˇJuventud, divino tesoro,
ya te vas para no volver!
Cuando quiero llorar, no lloro,
y a veces lloro sin querer...
ˇY las demás! En tantos climas,
en tantas tierras, siempre son,
si no pretextos de mis rimas,
fantasmas de mi corazón.
En vano busqué a la princesa
que estaba triste de esperar.
La vida es dura. Amarga y pesa.
ˇYa no hay princesa que cantar!
Mas, a pesar del tiempo terco,
mi sed de amor no tiene fin;
con el cabello gris me acerco
a los rosales del jardín...
ˇJuventud, divino tesoro,
ya te vas para no volver!
Cuando quiero llorar, no lloro,
y a veces lloro sin querer...
ˇMas es mía el Alba de oro!

Saturday, February 22, 2020


"I am crying with Russia!" - so many would say then and so they still say when they remember Pushkin.

On this month - February -  in 1837, Alexander Sergeyevich died in his apartment on the Moika after a mortal wound in a duel.
Hundreds of people still come here, bring flowers, read Pushkin’s poems.

Pushkin never had his own home in St. Petersburg; he rented apartments. In the house on Moika 12, which belonged to Princess Volkonskaya, he settled in September 1836. This is probably the most beautiful place in the city: very close is the magnificent Palace Square with the Winter Palace and the Alexander Column. The sink in this place is bent by an elegant arc, forming a unique beauty panorama of the mansions on the embankment chained in granite. Alas, Alexander Sergeyevich didn’t have to live in this wonderful place for long ... Then a lot of tenants changed here, the house was rebuilt several times, and in Soviet times they arranged communal apartments. The museum dedicated to the poet, appeared here only in 1927.

“A lot of young people come to the museum today,” says its director Galina Sedova. “The house on the Moika, as it was the leader in attendance among memorial apartments, remains.” This is hard to believe today, but after the poet’s death, little was remembered about him in Russia, his collected works differed poorly, and there were “hot heads” that claimed that Pushkin, the aristocratic poet, was no longer needed at all. Years have passed, and today we are becoming more aware that Pushkin really is - "this is our everything." This is what his apartment museum tells us. It has collected more than 200 thousand exhibits, including completely unique ones.

In many rooms, the decor is not recreated, but only simulated. This could look like the living quarters of that time. But on the other hand, some things of Pushkin and his wife were preserved in the original.


pipe A.S. Pushkin

In 1911, the casket was brought from Riga to the Pushkin House by his employee M. Hoffman, who received this relic from the wife of the trustee of the Riga school district S. V. Prutchenko, whose brother corresponded in the 1870s. with the sons of A.S. Pushkin. According to M. Hoffmann, the poet kept his papers in this casket.

So, in the poet’s office, his canes and a pipe are kept, inherited from the ancestor-arap, a chest, a desk, his favorite Voltaire chair. Exposed pistols that could be used during a deadly duel.

Historians claim that Pushkin had a total of about 30 duels. The poet even always wore a heavy iron stick. “To make the hand harder; if you have to shoot, so as not to flinch, ”he explained. However, the cheerful fights Alexander Sergeevich was rather frivolous about deadly fights. Somehow the poet shot himself with a certain lieutenant colonel Starov. Starov fired first and missed. Pushkin shot in the field, took off his hat and jokingly said:

Lt. Col. Starov,
Thank goodness!


Saber A.S. Pushkin

Often dueling was due to all sorts of trivialities. But on them the quick-tempered poet himself did not kill anyone. They killed him. And he knew well who would kill him - he believed in the prediction of a fortuneteller who announced to him death at the age of 37 from a “white man”. And so it happened. His killer Dantes was blond ...

Casket A.S. Pushkin

According to legend, stood on the table of Pushkin in his last apartment. The poet kept his rings in it. Before his death, he ordered to give him a box, took out a turquoise ring from it and gave it to K. Danzas in memory.

The box was donated by Natalia Nikolaevna A.O. Rosset through V.A. Zhukovsky. In the 1870s Rosset gave the box to a family friend F. A. Korchak-Mikhnevich. Subsequently, the box was with his daughter, and then with his granddaughter - S.K. Ostrovskaya, who transferred the box to the museum in 1969.

In one of the windows, Pushkin rings are on display. It is known that the poet had seven of them. He considered his talisman a gold signet ring with a carnelian, presented to him in Odessa by Countess Elizaveta Vorontsova. An oriental inscription was carved on it; he sang it in his several famous poems. With this ring, Pushkin sealed letters. According to Pavel Annenkov, “Pushkin, by a known tendency to superstition, even combined his talent with the fate of a ring mottled with some kind of cabalistic signs and carefully preserved by him.”


On his deathbed, the poet presented this ring to the poet Vasily Zhukovsky. The next owner of the ring was Ivan Turgenev, and, in the end, he ended up in the Pushkin Museum. But in the fateful 1917 the ring disappeared. It was stolen from the exhibition almost immediately after the February Revolution, and was never found. Now in the museum-apartment the empty saffiano case and the impression of the seal on the wax are left from it.

Another ring of Pushkin can be seen on the famous portrait of Vasily Tropinin, which also hangs in the museum. This is a ring with a large green stone resembling an emerald. Pushkin also considered him his talisman. There is an assumption that the poem "Save me, my talisman" is dedicated to him. Before his death, Pushkin handed it to his friend Vladimir Dahl, saying: "Take it, friend, I can’t write anymore."


Dahl was amazed by the gift and wrote to Vladimir Odoevsky about this: “The ring of Pushkin, which he called - I don’t know why - a talisman, is now a real talisman for me ... As I look at him, a spark will run through me from head to toe, and I want too to get down to something decent. ”

And so it happened. Dahl created an invaluable work for Russia - “The Explanatory Dictionary of the Living Great Russian Language”. This ring is preserved and is today in the museum on the Moika.

Inkwell of A.S. Pushkin
1830s Russia. Gilded and patinated bronze, metal, glass, cardboard, velvet. 

Given to Pushkin by P.V. Nashchokin for the new, 1832. Nashchokin, knowing about Pushkin's deep interest in the history of his great-grandfather A.P. Hannibal, wrote: “I am sending you your ancestor with inkwells that open and reveal that he was a man ´ double vue (insightful - French) ... "

The inkwell was stored in the poet's family, then in the second family of his wife, in the house of her eldest daughter A.P. Arapova. She entered the Pushkin House in 1919 from the heritage of A.P. Arapova according to her will.

Desk A.S. Pushkin
The beginning of the XIX century. Russia. Mahogany, fabric.

The poet Oblachkin, who visited Pushkin shortly before his death, recalled: “In the middle was a huge table of simple wood, leaving a passageway on both sides, littered with papers, stationery and books ...”.

Natalya Nikolaevna Pushkina handed over the table to P. A. Vyazemsky, who kept it in the Ostafyevo estate. From there in the 1930s. the table was transferred to the State Library. V.I. Lenin, and in 1936 - at the IRLI (Pushkin House).

Armchair A.S. Pushkin
1830s Russia, Petersburg. Mahogany, morocco, metal.

The chair was indicated on the account of furniture maker A. Gambes on May 25, 1835. After the death of Pushkin, the poet’s widow was obviously transported along with other things to Mikhailovskoye

With particular enthusiasm, Galina Sedova talks about the couch, which is in the poet’s office. For a long time it was believed that it was on him that Pushkin died after a duel, but there was no certainty about it. Things from the poet’s apartment disappeared, and the situation had to be restored bit by bit, the sofa was brought from the Hermitage, and before that he often changed hands. Galina Sedova was the first who decided to conduct an examination to verify its authenticity.

Sofa A.S. Pushkin with two pillows
1st half of the 19th century Mahogany, leather. State Hermitage Museum

On this sofa, the mortally wounded poet spent the last hours of his life and died on January 29, 1837 at 2 hours and 45 minutes in the afternoon

Pushkin's black cloth vest, which was on him on the day of the duel, was taken by P. A. Vyazemsky; he kept it in Ostafyev in a table-top glass case with his glove, the pair of the one that he threw into the poet’s coffin, and with a candle from Pushkin’s burial service in the Stable Church. Things together with the certifying notes of Pyotr Andreyevich are attached to the bottom of the window with cords sealed with the official seal of the princes Vyazemsky. From Ostafyevo entered the State Library. V.I. Lenin, from where in 1936 he was transferred to the IRLI (Pushkin House).

Entered the museum in 1938

"... For a long time I looked alone in his face after death. Never on this face I saw anything like what was on him at that first minute of death ... It was not a dream or peace. It was not an expression of the mind , so formerly characteristic of this person. It was also not a poetic expression. No, some kind of deep, amazing thought flowed on it, something like a vision, some kind of complete, deep, pleased knowledge ... At this moment, we can say, I saw death itself, a divinely secret death without a coverlet. and how surprisingly she expressed both her and his secret on him! I assure you that I have never seen his expression on such a deep, majestic, solemn thought. She, of course, slipped in him before. then, when everything earthly was separated from him with the touch of death. Such was the end of our Pushkin. "
V.A. Zhukovsky

On January 27, when the doctors examined the wound, it was decided to call the priest.

“For whom do you command me to send?” - asked Pushkin.

“Take the first nearest priest,” he answered.

The “closest” was Archpriest Peter Pesotsky, rector of the church on Konyushennaya Square. He left Pushkin with tears in his eyes, struck by the humility and nobility of the dying poet.

“You may not believe me,” he said, “but for myself I wish for the end he had.”
It was decided to transfer the body of Pushkin to the Church of the Savior of the Miraculous Image not at daytime, but at midnight ...

A.S. Pushkin in the coffin

“After the death of Pushkin,” wrote P.A. Vyazemsky, - I was at his tomb almost constantly until the body was taken out to the church, which is in the building of the Stable Department. Body removal was performed at night, in the presence of relatives of N.N. Pushkina, Count G.A. Stroganov and his wife, Zhukovsky, Turgenev, Count Veliegorsky, Arkady Os. Rosseti, an officer of the General Staff of Skalon and the families of Karamzin and Prince Vyazemsky. Out of this list, a retired communications officer Verevkin, who, according to the explanation of A.O. Rosseti, some kind of relationship to the deceased. No strangers were allowed. At the request of A.N. Muravyov and the old friend of the deceased Countess Bobrinsky (wife of Count Pavel Bobrinsky), transferred by me to Count Stroganov, I was instructed to inform them that no exceptions were allowed. The chief of staff of the gendarme corps Dubelt, accompanied by about twenty headquarters and chief officers, was present at the removal. Pickets were set up in neighboring yards. The deployed armed forces did not at all correspond to Pushkin's small and extremely humble friends who had gathered to take out the body. ”

After the funeral I.A. Krylov, P.A. Vyazemsky, V.A. Zhukovsky and other writers lifted the coffin and carried it to a crypt located inside the courtyard.

“For a long time we waited for the end of church service; finally, faces in full uniform began to appear on the porch; there were few military men, but a large number of courtiers ... In black tailcoats there were only footmen who were walking in front of the coffin ... The coffin was taken out into the street in the midst of a motley crowd of uniforms and salops ... Moreover, all this flashed before us only for a moment. From the street, the coffin was immediately taken out into the gates next to the church to the Stables yard, where there was a memorial cellar ...

Among the numerous documents related to Pushkin’s funeral, it seems that only one stands apart from the indecently lively mournful crush.

"1. To pay off debts.
2. The mortgaged estate of the father to clear of a debt.
3. A widow's pension and daughters in marriage.
4. Sons in pages and 1,500 p. on the education of each upon entry into the service.
5. To publish the work on a government account in favor of the widow and children.
6. At a time 10 tons
Emperor Nicholas. "

And there seems to be no hint of a living feeling in an intentionally dry list, but for some reason there is more pain from the irreparable loss and living compassion to the Pushkin family than in the most felt condolences.

The poet was buried near the Svyatogorsky monastery near the family estate in Mikhailovsky. There he bought land for his future repose (as if he foresaw a quick death) at the funeral of his mother in 1836.

“February 3 at 10 pm,” writes V.A. Zhukovsky, - we gathered for the last time to what was left of Pushkin for us; buried the last requiem; they put the box with the coffin on the sleigh, the sleigh started off; in the light of the month I followed them for some time; soon they turned around the corner of the house; and everything that was earthly Pushkin forever disappeared from my eyes ... "

Naumov A.A. - Pushkin's body transportation to the Holy Mountains

The report on the death of the great poet was published in only one newspaper: "Literary additions to the" Russian disabled person ".

It was written by its editor Andrei Kraevsky: “The sun of our poetry has set! Pushkin died, died in the color of his years, in the middle of a great career ... ” But the very next day the editor was invited for explanation to the chairman of the censorship committee, Prince Mikhail Dundukov-Korsakov.

“I must tell you that the minister is extremely, extremely dissatisfied with you!” he said to Kraevsky. - Why is this publication about Pushkin? What is this black frame around the news of the death of a non-official person who did not occupy any position in the civil service? Well, no matter where it goes! But what an expression! "The sun of poetry!". Excuse me, what is such an honor? "Pushkin passed away ... in the middle of his great career!" What is this field? ”

After the death of the poet, the prince seemed to want to avenge him for the evil epigram that he composed about him:

At the Academy of Sciences
Prince Dunduk sits
They say it’s not appropriate
Dunduk is such an honor
Why is he sitting?
Because well ... there is!

Many years later, the ashes of the deceased poet were disturbed. In 1953, on the territory of the Svyatogorsky monastery, they decided to open his grave. The territory was closed to visitors, police posts were set up at the gates. A famous Soviet archaeologist Pavel Schulz was invited as a consultant. A participant in these works, the then director of the reserve, Semyon Geychenko, recalled: “We threw off shovels and dustpan and began to clear the ground with knives, brushes and wooden spoons ... The walls, the head and the bottom of the coffin were well preserved. At the bottom of the crypt are the remains of spruce branches. No traces of the gaze were found. Pushkin's ashes were greatly decayed. The hair was incorrupt. ”

And a strange thing happened. The remains of two more people were found in the crypt of Pushkin. What they were, scientists failed to establish ...

As you know, Pushkin himself with his poems "the monument was built by himself miraculous." But many others dedicated to the poet were erected in St. Petersburg.

Memorial sign at the place of the duel A.S. Pushkin with Georges Dantes on the Black River 1907

Monument to Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin in Moscow by sculptor A.M. The guardian, opened on Tverskoy Boulevard on June 6, 1880. Photo of 1907

The first - a temporary plaster bust - was placed in 1881 in a park on Pushkinskaya street. Then, in its place in 1884, a full-length bronze monument was erected according to the design of Alexander Opekushin. Later, monuments and memorials dedicated to the Russian genius appeared in Tsarskoye Selo, in the place of Pushkin’s duel on the Black River, in the courtyard of the house on the Moika embankment, where he lived, and in 1957 a wonderful monument was opened to the poet of work by Mikhail Anikushin on Arts Square. Plaques with the name of Pushkin are installed on the Fontanka embankment, on Galernaya, on the Kutuzov embankment, in the courtyard of the house on the Moika, where he lived. Streets in the city center, in Pushkin, Pavlovsky, Kolpinsky, Kurortny and Krasnoselsky districts are named after Pushkin.

Monument to A. S. Pushkin at the Arts Square

Monument to A.S. Pushkin in Tsarskoye Selo

In a word, it is difficult to find another poet who has been erected so many monuments everywhere. They say that he is even in Ethiopia. True, on the pedestal it is written: "To our poet." And in Mikhailovsky in 2000 they erected a monument to the fateful hare, which, as you know, saved Pushkin. It is a milestone with the inscription “416 versts left to Senate Square” with the figure of a hare sitting on it. When the poet raced to St. Petersburg, where the revolt of the Decembrists began, the hare crossed the road for him. Believing in signs, Pushkin immediately turned back ...

But during the life of the great poet, monuments were not erected. Even Pushkin's parents did not love their son. “Pushkin admired the third-rate French poets, but looked at genius in his family,” wrote his biographer Ariadna Tyrkova-Williams in the book “Pushkin’s Life”. Viewed by genius and others.

The Pushkin magazine Sovremennik was not successful, where not only his masterpieces, The Mean Knight, Captain's Daughter, The Bronze Horseman were published, but also the verses of Tyutchev, Lermontov, Zhukovsky, and the story of Gogol.

In 1836, four volumes were published. The first was published in a print run of 2,400 copies, but not more than a third of them were bought. As a result, the circulation of the fourth almost tripled. After the death of the poet, the most interesting magazine in the history of Russian literature left only 233 subscribers. However, the magazine "European", where Pushkin was also published, there were only 50.

What did they read then in Russia? Already forgotten today, Marlinsky, Bulgarin, Grech, Polevoy, lightweight "ladies'" novels by French writers, the adventures of the former convict Vidok - a prototype of today's detectives. Two centuries before the dominance of the glamorous “soap”, the tastes of most of the public were not much different from the present.

Tsar Nicholas I was perhaps rated above all the poet - the one whom in Soviet times was considered almost the main organizer of the conspiracy to destroy it. “You know,” Nikolai told his wife after meeting with Pushkin, “today I talked with the smartest man in Russia.” He then appointed after the death of the poet a generous lifelong maintenance for his family. What not a single Soviet ruler did for relatives of the deceased or who committed suicide for famous poets and writers.

Throughout his life, Pushkin suffered severely, but not so much from the impudent courtship of his wife, but from the lack of recognition in society of the true significance of his work. Indeed, in those days there were no prizes or other insignia for writers. Nobody gave them orders, did not put them on the podiums. What was it like to be a genius, to be aware of it and to see that others did not recognize it? After all, even “specialists”, literary criticism of that time did not always praise him at all. When the poet printed Boris Godunov, the influential journalist Nikolai Nadezhdin responded to this as follows:

Boris Godunov
He released to the people.
Poor update,
Alas! for the new year!

Even his friend, Lyceum Wilhelm Küchelbecker, placed Godunov below the long-forgotten plays of Nestor Kukolnik. If friends and fellow writers did not understand and appreciate him, then what about the rest?

However, soon Pushkin himself realized what other people understand only at the end of a long life: a noble heart is smarter than a bright head. And that is why his Tatyana was smarter than Eugene Onegin. But the most intelligent person in Russia could not establish his own life. When he died, the house was only 300 rubles. There was nothing to bury ...

In the days of the USSR, when he was raised to the podium, also not everything was smooth. Benedict Sarnov in his book "Stalin and Writers" describes such a case. In 1949, the 150th anniversary of the birth of Pushkin was celebrated. A solemn meeting was held at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, at which his poems were read. The speeches of the speakers were broadcast through the speakers, who then stood across the country in squares. There was a broadcast in one small Kazakh town. The square was empty, but suddenly it was filled with strange horsemen who rode from nowhere. They were poorly dressed, exhausted, but with great attention began to listen to the speech of Simonov, who read the official report. But, not listening to the end, they suddenly spurred horses and sped off ... Why did they come and why did they leave, obviously disappointed?

It turned out, Sarnov explains, that they were Kalmyks deported to Kazakhstan on the orders of Stalin. They rushed from their settlements to hear whether the Moscow reporter would say, when he would quote the text on the Pushkin monument, the words: “And a friend of the Kalmyk steppes.”

Simonov quoted the poem. And even read the corresponding stanza, but - not to the end:
Hearing about me will pass through the whole of Great Russia,
And every tongue in her will call me,
And the proud grandson of the Slavs, and Finn, and now wild
Tungus ...

And - that's it! On the "Tungus" quote broke off. It was forbidden to name the names of the repressed peoples then. And so the riders immediately realized that no change was foreseen in their fate, and rode off. The “cut off” Pushkin line was returned only after the death of Stalin and the 20th Congress, when the Kalmyks were able to return to their native places.

It is curious that one of Pushkin's most quoted exclamations is distorted.

I remember what a great impression the Prime Minister in BDT in Leningrad made “Sorrow from Wit” directed by Georgy Tovstonogov, when a poster appeared over the stage with the words: “Damn I was born in Russia with wisdom and talent!” In the USSR, this produced the effect of an exploding bomb. Well, they say, in our country no one needs the mind, and that’s why “grief from the mind”. In those days, it was unheard of courage.

However, in fact, Pushkin is not so. In his latest letter to Natalya Nikolaevna Goncharova, this phrase looks different. "The devil guessed me to be born in Russia with soul and talent." Instead of “soul”, “mind” suddenly appeared. The difference is, of course, cardinal. The directors “corrected” Pushkin so that his words were associated with the title of the play “Woe from Wit” by Alexander Griboedov. Now, of course, it is difficult to say who did this first. Either Tovstonogov himself, or someone else before him. But in any case, the adjustment is not permissible ...

In Soviet times, Pushkin was portrayed as an implacable fighter against tsarism. However, before his death, he spoke of the emperor differently. “What can the king say from you?” Zhukovsky asked the poet’s deathbed. “Tell me, I’m sorry that I was dying, all of him would be,” Pushkin answered quietly.

In the high society of St. Petersburg, many people generally hated the poet, which served as a reason for insidious intrigue and murder. A number of researchers claim that the poet was the victim of a "blue conspiracy."

In Paris, and in other European capitals, Sodom sin was then in vogue in higher circles.

Knowing the quick-tempered nature of the poet, his enemies began to beat the most sick - his beautiful wife. And here in St. Petersburg, out of nowhere, the blond Frenchman Dantes appeared. His adoptive father, the Dutch envoy Baron Gekkeren, placed him in the guard, brought him to the best houses. Gekkeren was never married. Prince A. Trubetskoy later wrote: “I don’t know how to say: did he live with Gekkeren, or Gekkeren lived with him ... He was very beautiful.”


"Pushkin's Farewell to the Sea" by Ivan Aivazovsky and Ilya Repin (1877)

Duel of Alexander Pushkin and Georges d'Anthès by Adrian Volkov 1869