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Yevtushenko: An Autumn Poem

by John Cobley

Monday Apr 15th, 2024



A Yevtushenko  Autumn Poem


Russian poets have always been attracted to autumn poems. Yevtushenko’s 1965 poem has an original autumnal theme: it uses the seasonal shedding of leaves to explore his own personality, which he wants to see in its “autumnal nakedness.”




                                    To A. Simonov


Within me is the autumn season.

Within me transparently and coolly,

And I’m sad, but not without cheer,

And full of humility and good intentions.


But if I sometimes rage,

Then in raging, I’m the one shedding leaves.

And a thought comes sadly, simply,

That raging is not really needed.


The main thing is to be able to see myself

And the world of conflict and upheaval

In autumnal nakedness,

When you and the world are transparent.


Insight is the child of silence.

It doesn’t matter if we don’t rage loudly..

We must calmly throw off everything noisy

For the sake of new foliage.


Evidently something has happened to me,

And I’m relying only on silence,

Where the leaves, lying on each other,

Are soundlessly becoming earth. 


From a certain height you see everything

When you manage to shed leaves on time,

When inner autumn impassively

Lays it airy fingers on your brow.


Yevgeny Yevtushenko, 1965

Translated by John Cobley








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