Friday, 28 August 2009

Wait for me

Wait for me, and I’ll return
Only wait very hard
Wait when you are filled with sorrow
Wait in the sweltering heat
Wait when the others have stopped waiting,
Forgetting their yesterdays.

Wait even when from afar no letters come to you
Wait even when others are tired of waiting…
And when friends sit around the fire,
Drinking to my memory,
Wait, and do not hurry to drink to my memory too.

Wait. For I’ll return, defying every death.
And let those who do not wait say that I was lucky.
They will never understand that in the midst of death,
You with your waiting saved me.
Only you and I know how I survived.
It’s because you waited, as no one else did.

These beautiful words were written in 1941 by a young Soviet officer, Konstantin Simonov. Today he is regarded as arguably Russia’s greatest poet. At the time he was unknown. 'Wait For Me' was intended for his girlfriend Valentina Serova, but ended up being published in Pravda. Soldiers cut it out of the paper, copied it out as they sat in the trenches, learned it by heart and sent it back in letters to wives and girlfriends. It was found in the breast pockets of the killed and wounded. And I find the words very touching.

3 comments:

Naughty feeling said...

My eyes are welling up. Is all i can say beautiful!

Anengiyefa said...

Hi NF, I first heard this poem when it was read out by Sir Laurence Olivier in the World at War series, on an episode about Russia and the Russian people in WW2.

I went searching for the written form and thought to share it here. And I felt exactly the same as you, reading the words over and over. Very rarely does a poem affect me so..

Anengiyefa said...

Wait For Me (1941

Just wait for me and I'll return.
But wait, oh, wait with all your might. . .
Wait when your heart is saddened by
The pouring rains, the sallow light.
Wait when the wind heaps up the snow,
Wait when the air is dry and hot.
Wait when the rest no longer wait
For those whom they too soon forgot.
Wait when the letters fail to come,
Wait on, through dread and through despair,
When those who wait together end
Their waiting and turn otherwhere.

Just wait for me and I'll return.
And show no kindliness to such
As know by heart that it is time
To cease from grieving overmuch.
Let both my mother and my son
Believe me lost, let friends who tire
Of waiting longer sit them down
Barren of hope beside the fire,
And let them toast my memory
In bitter wine as friends will do.
Wait while they drink, be waiting still,
Nor lift the glass they pour for you.

Just wait for me and Til return,
To spite all deaths that men can die.
Let those who gave up waiting say:
"It was his luck"-that is a lie.
It is not theirs to understand
Who gave up waiting, wearily.
How under fire I was safe,
Since, waiting, you protected me.
And none but you and I will know
How I escaped the thrust of fate-
Simply because, better than all
The others, you knew how to wait.