The author hears Chopin’s funeral march and the whisper of a warm shower in the ivy. She dreams of youth, his passing cup. She is waiting for the person with whom she is destined to deserve such that the Twentieth Century will be embarrassed.
But instead of the one she was waiting for, on New Year’s Eve, the shadow of a thirteenth year in the guise of mummers came to the author at the Fountain House. One is dressed up by Faust, the other by Don Juan. Come Dapertutto, Iokanaan, northern Glan, the murderer Dorian. The author is not afraid of his unexpected guests, but is confused, not understanding: how could it happen that only she, one of all, survived? She suddenly feels that she herself – such as she was in the thirteenth year and with whom she would not like to meet before the Last Judgment – will now enter the White Hall. She forgot the lessons of the redskins and false prophets, but they did not forget her: as in the past the future is ripening, so
in the future the past is smoldering.
The only one who did not appear on this terrible feast of dead leaves is the Guest from the Future. But the Poet comes, dressed up with a striped verst, a coeval of the Mamvri oak, the age-old companion of the moon. He does not expect for himself magnificent jubilee armchairs, sins do not stick to him. But his poems were best described about this. Among the guests is the same demon who in the crowded hall sent a black rose in a glass and who met with the Commander.
In the carefree, spicy, shameless masquerade chatter, the author hears familiar voices. They speak about Kazakov, about the cafe “Stray dog”. Someone drags a goat-legged man into the White Hall. It is full of crooked dance and parade naked. After shouting: “Hero on the front of the stage!” – Ghosts run away. Left alone, the author sees his visionary guest with a pale forehead and open eyes – and understands that the gravestones are fragile and granite is softer than wax. The guest whispers that she will leave her alive, but she will forever be his widow. Then in the distance
one hears his clear voice: “I am ready for death.”
The wind, not recollecting or prophesying, mumbles about St. Petersburg in 1913. That year the silver month shone brightly over the silver age. The city was going into the fog, in the pre-war frosty airiness there was some kind of future rumble. But then he almost did not disturb the soul and sank in the snowdrifts of the Neva. And along the embankment of the legendary the approaching calendar was not the real Twentieth Century.
That year, and rose over the rebellious youth of the author’s unforgettable and tender friend – only once had a dream. His grave was forgotten forever, as if he had not lived at all. But she believes that he will come to again tell her the conquering death the word and the clue of her life.
Hellscarlet of the thirteenth year is passing by. The author remains in the Fountain House on January 5, 1941. A ghost of the snow-covered maple is seen in the window. In all the winds are heard very deeply and very skillfully hidden snippets of Requiem. The editor of the poem is dissatisfied with the author. He says that it is impossible to understand who is in love with someone, who, when and why he met, who died, and who is alive, who is the author, and who is the hero. The editor is sure that today there is no point in talking about the poet and the swarm of ghosts. The author objects: she herself would be glad not to see the infernal harlequinade and not sing among the horror of torture, exile and executions. Together with her contemporaries – convicts, “hustlers”, captives – she is ready to tell how they lived in fear on the other side of hell, raised children for a plow, a dungeon and a prison. But she can not get off the road, which she miraculously came across,
On the night of June 24, 1942, fires burned in the ruins of Leningrad. In the Sheremetyevsky Garden lime blossoms and the nightingale sings. The majestic maple grows under the window of the Fountain House. The author, who is seven thousand kilometers away, knows that the maple had already foreseen separation from the beginning of the war. She sees her double, going to the interrogation behind the barbed wire, in the heart of the taiga dense, and he hears his voice from the lips of a double: for you I paid clean, exactly ten years I went under the revolver…
The author understands that it is impossible to separate him from a seditious, disgraced, lovely city, on the walls of which is its shadow. She remembers the day when she left her city at the beginning of the war, in the belly of flying fish, fleeing from the evil pursuit. At the bottom, the road opened to her, along which her son and many more people were taken away. And, knowing the time of revenge, shrouded in mortal fear, her eyes drooping dry and wringing her hands, Russia was walking east to her.