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François Mauld d’Aymée writes about a poet’s encounter with his motherland.

“Where are you, Mother Russia, where are you?”

Once asked a young lonely poet. For a long time, he waited, immersed in the quietness of the starry night sky. And Mother Russia, hearing him from afar, softly whispered her answer in the wind.

Dear son,

I am in the villages. I’m in the valleys, in the woods, in the taiga, and on the steppe. I’m in the rivers, in the snow, in the rain, and in the fields. I’m in the sea of birches and thick pines. Have you not seen me before?

I’m in the eyes of my Slavic beauties. I stretch from Onega to Elbrus, from Minsk to Sakhalin, floating among the clouds. I’m in Pushkin’s verb, Vysotsky’s guitar, in the golden fingers of Rachmaninoff, and in Alyabyev’s prison trills. I twirl in grand waltzes with the uniforms of heroes and the smiles of princesses. Have you not seen this before?

I am in the heavy swords of my bearded warriors. I am splendid in bloody battles, from the Kulikovo Field to Stalingrad, like in Poltava and in the Donetsk airport. Did you not know this before?

I am in the gentle chime of my fragile wooden churches, at sunrise and at the golden sunset… Have you not heard before?

I have not dwelled in other lands, other souls, or other hearts. Did you not know this before?

Open your eyes and look! Listen to me! Come back when you understand.

She told the young poet and then returned to her deep forest. The poet, gazing into the night, adoringly brought her prayers, elegies, and songs as gifts. The next day, the sun rose, for the glory of God, and she read them. She enjoyed them. She thanked him and blessed him. And the poet lived a long life, loving Mother Russia all the while.

The poet spent his youth and tirelessly created. He began to bow his head in respect and soon no longer looked or listened. And his heart ceased to beat.

Mother Russia remembered him. She took him to her, and said: “Well, you found me!” She hugged him for a long time, thanked him again, and blessed him. Then she gave him a cloud as a gift. “Fly, dear son!” She couldn’t give him a golden halo, for that’s for the saints. With ancient pomp, she gently placed a green laurel above his ears. How proud, yet modestly dressed, our poet looked! “Fly now, dear son!”

And henceforth, the poet eternally lived in the resonant wind above Russia.

In the burning confessions of love, in scholarly aphorisms, from the mouths of students – he now blessed the air.

He floated gently in the air from then on, and never again asked,

“Where are you, Mother Russia, where are you?”

‘Mother Russia’ by Ilya Glazunov

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Translated by Constantin von Hoffmeister

François Mauld d'Aymée

François Mauld d'Aymée graduated from the Saint-Cyr military academy in Brittany. He is a soldier in the Russian army, an opera singer, and a student at the Tchaikovsky Moscow Conservatory. You can follow him on Telegram:

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