Today is the 85th anniversary of Nikolai Rubtsov – Blogs – Echo of Moscow, 01/03/2021

85 years ago, on January 3, 1936, Nikolai Rubtsov, a Russian national poet, was born. Also on the 50th anniversary of his death (died January 19, 1971).

Here are a couple of phrases of my kind, extremely wonderful friend and writer Alexander Kirov from Kargopol. Candidate of Philology, author of the thesis “Lyric novel in the poetry of N.M. Rubtsov.” In his own, so to speak, arrangement of a small excerpt from Kirov’s story “Midnight in the Ice”.

So that’s it. Once Kolka Rubtsov with one of his fellow villagers, naturally a poet, showed up to the acquaintances of the Kirov family – in the house of Innokenty Goshev from the village of Krasnoborsky on the Northern Dvina. (Who else could have come with Rubtsov, besides the poet? ..) And part-time editor of the Trud newspaper. Nicholas was then around 25-27 years old. Just after the army.

Since their friend, Valentin Goshev himself, was not there, they asked for a boat from their father. The owner flatly refused to give: he realized that they were going to a party. But, looking closely at Rubtsov, he asked: “Fatherlessness?” – “Yes” – he lowered his head.

The front-line soldier himself, who almost got into the penal battalion for “political”, senior Goshev gave them oars. And one more piece of bacon to boot: “Come back by morning,” he admonished the travelers.

They then roamed slightly, – the author of the story writes. – Bearing in mind, probably, and other cases, worse and more fun. Not the point.

We swam into the middle of the river, a bottle or two – a red one – we drank and received communion. We sang songs. They recited quiet verses to the night river: “… the boat on the river bank will soon rot completely.” Early in the day, fish were caught on the line. Yes, and returned as promised. Such is the simple story. No frills.

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I thanked Sasha Kirov for the story. Which was told to him by Rubtsov’s friend, Valentin Goshev, who later became an artist known far beyond his native Koryazhma.

– Thank you brother.

“Not at all,” Kirov answered.

And then:

– You know, uncle, – this is his trademark verdict: uncle. – Do you remember Rubtsov’s “I will ride the hills”?

“Yes,” I lied. (Well, it’s impossible to study everything in the world.)

“So,” Kirov continued. – I think that this poem … was written based on childhood impressions of the Nyandoma-Kargopol road, leaving Nyandoma (where the Rubtsov family lived in the late 1930s, – ed.) – and hills, hills, hills …

I will ride the hills of a dozing home
Unknown son of amazing free tribes!
As before, they rode on the capricious voice of luck,
I will ride in the footsteps of bygone times …

For a long time, walking, the accordion announced the neighborhood
And the chairman himself danced, exhausted,
And demanded a drink for valor in labor and honesty,
And he carried the best reaper like a banner in his hands!

– …A very beautiful place. He was 3-4 years old then Rubtsova, he could remember at a subconscious level. Psychologists of literature will immediately say that I am taking Rubtsov to my place in Kargopol, but the sin is not great.

No doubt not great, dear Sasha! Who will forbid you, as well as all of us who love him, to appropriate a piece of Rubtsov and take him home. God help you! And thank you so much for a rare fact and valuable literary criticism, not known to cicatrix scholars.

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By the way, I will add that these hills are also attributed to the Brodsky hills. Also “To the Word of Igor’s Campaign”: “galloping, glory, according to the mind tree.” And Pushkin’s reminiscences of leaps, incredible temporal – and sensual, carnal. And the Old Russian ontology of prayer.

In general, gentlemen, I often and honestly ask myself: what keeps us, people of the older generation, vital, or rather, spiritual juices? After all, the surrounding area is by no means prosperity. Especially for the elderly, pensioners, veterans: “… I looked around – my soul was wounded by suffering,” as if Radishchev wrote yesterday. Although the sign and pride of the 1960s and 70s: the Soviet Volga-Kama cascade of hydroelectric power plants is in no way inferior to the global concept of the implementation of the current project of a giant bridge across the Kerch Strait. True, this is not the case at all.

The answer is, in principle, simple and obvious. How simple and obvious, at first glance, the lyrics of Rubtsov: “… in Russia, consonant hands wave at the birds widely.”

Both in socialist and in capitalist Russia, we were held and held by weary hands by the image, the inexhaustible sound scale of the surrounding world: a tribute to ancestors, dear land, teachers. A tribute, explicitly displayed in the face of grandmother’s icons in a linen-chintz corner – theology in paints, – in the face of churches, domes, harbinger of sorrows and festivities on churchyards: commemoration, memory, respect and love.

Sleep with the Angels
With the Archangels,
Cherubim, seraphim
Curl, curl over you
Over your head …

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These are the unusual and non-standard architectural forms of temples and village monasteries absorbed from childhood. Let them be devastated, with long ago destroyed altars, but on a subconscious level, together with mother’s jokes (Rubtsov’s mother sang in the church choir) and father’s tales, creating our notorious, untold and inexplicable Russian identity.

It seems that today’s Zamoskovskaya Rus – alas and ah! – is nothing more than a big village, unfortunately. Destroyed and burned, etched and trampled, as if in the Batu years. Through the winds of war: “… no claims and benefits, no gas, no bathroom.” Barely alive, living, like the times of militant atheism, from paycheck to paycheck, saving herself by prayers, thoughts about God, the earth and children.

There is a road up the hill from the bridge,
And on the mountain – what sadness
There are the ruins of the cathedral
As if the old Russia was sleeping.

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