International, By Inner Nature

Yevgeny Yevtushenko. International by inner nature

I wish to bear witness to the departure from this world of Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko (1933-2017)

International by inner nature

Many of the details of his life are well-documented in the New York Times obituary and the Guardian obituary.

International by inner nature. He was most well-known for the poem Babi Yar, published in 1961, bearing witness to a hidden massacre in World War II. There is a portion in that poem,

O, Russia of my heart, I know that you
Are international, by inner nature.
But often those whose hands are steeped in filth
Abused your purest name, in name of hatred.

International by inner nature. In his life, he went from being known as a dissident poet to becoming part of the Russian literary establishment. Some people complained he compromised. I need more context to determine whether these complaints were substantial, or merely ordinary jealousy. It didn’t seem to help (or hurt) that he was both handsome and stylish.

Yevgeny Yevtushenko on cover of Time Magazine. International by inner nature

International by inner nature. He seems to have been in both America and Russia, both before and after the fall of the Soviet Union. He seems to have made a happy connection with the the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma in the later years of his life. Was he the world’s most famous poet? Possibly. He was definitely the most famous poet in Tulsa.

Yevgeny Yevtushenko in Tulsa. Internation by inner nature

International by inner nature. I bear witness to his departure because in his poem “Babi Yar,” I believe he demonstrated what the New Message from God calls “Knowledge,” an engagement with mystery which manifests as wise understanding of the past. Knowledge sometimes speaks in a very succinct manner, and thus has a connection with poetry. The New Message from God speaks of the need of humanity to unite to face future challenges.

International by inner nature. Many other observers are sharing “Babi Yar” or “Stalin’s Heirs” as their way of observing Yevtushenko’s departure. I am sharing “The City of Yes and the City of No,” written in 1963, as my benediction.

The City of Yes and the City of No

I am like a train
rushing for many years now
between the city of Yes
and the city of No.
My nerves are strained
like wires
between the city of No
and the city of Yes.

Everything is deadly,
everyone frightened, in the city of No.
It’s like a study furnished with dejection.
In it every object is frowning, withholding something,
and every portrait looks out suspiciously,
Every morning its parquet floors are polished with bile,
its sofas are made of falsehood, its walls of misfortune.
You’ll get lots of good advice in it — like hell you will!–
not a bunch of flowers, or even a greeting.
Typewriters are chattering a carbon copy answer:
“No–no–no…No–no–no. No–no–no.”
And when the lights go out altogether,
the ghosts in it begin their gloomy ballet.
You’ll get a ticket to leave –- like hell you will!–
to leave the black town of No.

But in the town of Yes–
life’s like the song of a thrush.
This town’s without walls–
just like a nest.
The sky is asking you to take any star
you like in your hand.
Lips ask for yours, without any shame,
softly murmuring:
“Ah–all that nonsense!”
And in no one is there even a trace of suspicion,
and lowing herds are offering their milk,
and daisies, teasing, are asking to be picked,
and wherever you want to be, you are instantly there,
Taking any train, or plane, or ship that you like.
And water, faintly murmuring, whispers through the years:
“Yes–yes–yes. Yes–yes–yes. Yes–yes–yes.”
To tell the truth, the snag is it’s a bit boring at times,
to be given so much, almost without any effort,
in that shining multicolored city of Yes.

Better let me be tossed around–
To the end of my days,
between the city of Yes
and the city of No!
Let my nerves be strained
like wires
between the city of No
And the city of Yes!

International by inner nature. Прощай, Евгений Александрович.

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