Prayer before the dam
“A poet in Russia is more than a poet.” The author sums up everything that happened before, humbly kneeling, asks for help from the great Russian poets…
Give, Pushkin, your melodiousness and your ability, as it were, to burn with a verb. Give, Lermontov, your glance. Give, Nekrasov, the pain of your excised muse, give the power of your ineffectiveness. Give, Block, your nebula. Give, Pasternak, for your candle to burn in me forever. Yesenin, give me happiness for happiness. Give Mayakovsky, a formidable intransigence, so that I, cutting through time, could tell about it to fellow descendants.
I’m over thirty. At night, I cry that I spent my life in small things. We all have one sickness of the soul –
Together with Galya, we drove through Russia to the sea in the autumn and turned for Tula to Yasnaya Polyana. There we realized that genius is the connection of height with depth. Three ingenious people have given birth to Russia anew and more than once will give birth to it: Pushkin, Tolstoy and Lenin.
We again went, spent the night in the car, and I thought that in the chain of great insights, perhaps, there is only a link missing. Well, that’s our turn.
Monologue of the Egyptian pyramid
I beg: people, steal my memory! I see that everything in the world is not new, everything is exactly the same as Ancient Egypt. The same meanness, the same prisons, the same oppression, the same thieves, gossips, hucksters…
And what’s the face of the new sphinx called Russia? I see peasants, workers, there are also scribes – there are a lot of them. And this, in any way, the pyramid?
I, the pyramid, will tell you something. I saw slaves: they worked, then they rebelled, then they humiliated… What is the use? Slavery is not destroyed: slavery of prejudice, money, things still exists. There is no progress. Man is a slave by nature and will never change.
Monologue of the Bratsk Hydroelectric Power Plant
The patience of Russia is the courage of the prophet. She endured – and then exploded. Here I am with the bucket of an excavator picking up Moscow for you. Look – there’s something happened.
The execution of Stenka Razin
All the inhabitants of the city-the thief, the tsar, the boyaryn with the boyar boy, the merchant, and the buffoons-rush to the death of Stenka Razin. Stenka rides on a cart and thinks about what he wanted the people of good, but something brought him down, maybe, ignorance?
The executioner lifts an ax, blue as the Volga, and Stenka sees in his blade, as facial crowds grow FACE. His head rolls, croaking “Not for nothing…”, and laughs at the king.
Bratsk hydro power plant continues
And now, the pyramid, I’ll show you something else.
They were still boys, but the sound of the spurs did not drown out their moans for them. And the boys angrily fished their swords. The essence of the patriot is to rise in the name of liberty.
On Semenovskiy parade ground smells Senate Square: the Petrashevites are executed. They put their hoods on their eyes. But one of those being executed through the hood sees all of Russia: how Rogozhin is rampaging along it, Myshkin is rushing, Alyosha Karamazov wanders. But the executioners do not see anything like that.
When Chernyshevsky stood at the pillory, he could see the whole of Russia from the scaffold, like a huge “What to do?”. Someone’s fragile hand tossed a flower from the crowd. And he thought: the time will come, and the same hand will throw the bomb.
Fair in Simbirsk
In the hands of the clerks, goods flit through, the officer observes the order. Ikaya, the caviar god drives. And the woman sold her potatoes, grabbed the pervacha and fell, drunk, into the mud. Everyone laughs, pokes at it with their fingers, but some clear-headed schoolboy raised her and led her.
Russia is not a drunken woman, she was not born for slavery, and she is not trampled into the mud.
The Bratsk hydropower plant refers to the pyramid
Kindness is the root of revolutions. In Winter, the Provisional Government is still feasting. But now the Aurora is unfolding, here the palace is taken. Look at history – there Lenin!
The pyramid replies that Lenin is an idealist. Do not be deceived only by cynicism. People are slaves. This is elementary.
But the Bratsk hydropower plant answers that it will show another alphabet – the ABC of the revolution. Here’s the teacher Elkin at the front in the nineteenth teaches Red Army soldiers a letter. Here an orphan Sonka, having escaped from the fist of Zybkov, comes to Magnitogorsk and becomes a red digger. She has a patchwork quilted jacket, torn pylons, but together they put with their beloved Petka
Concrete of Socialism
The Bratsk hydropower plant is roaring over eternity: “Communists will never be slaves!” And, reflecting, the Egyptian pyramid disappears.
The first echelon
Ah, the trunk-trunk line! Do you remember how the rail cars flew over you? It was a lot of terrible, but do not grieve about it. Now here is the inscription on the coaches: “Bratsk Hydroelectric Power is going!” The girl from Sretenka is coming: in the first year her pigtails will be freezing to a cot, but she will stand like everyone else.
Bratskaya HPP will rise, and Alyosha Marchuk will answer questions in New York about her.
Grandma is walking along the taiga, and she has flowers in her hands. Previously, prisoners lived in this camp, and now – builders of the dam. Nearby residents are carrying them who are sheets, who are shanezhki. But the grandmother bears a bouquet, cries, baptizes excavators and builders…
I’m a Betonshit, Nyushka Burtova. I was raised and brought up by the village of Great Dirt, because I remained an orphan, then I was a servant, I worked as a dishwasher. The surrounding lied, stole, but, working in a restaurant car, I recognized real Russia… Finally, I got to build the Bratsk hydropower plant. Became concrete, received public weight. I fell in love with a proud Muscovite. When a new life awoke in me, that Muscovite did not recognize paternity. I did not give myself an end to an unfinished dam. Born son Trofim and became a construction son, as I was a village daughter. We were together with him at the opening of the dam. So let the grandchildren remember that they got light from Il’ich and a little from me.
I am engineer-builder Kartsev. When I was young, I raved about the world’s fire and shredded the enemies of the commune. Then he went to rabfak. He built a dam in Uzbekistan. And he could not understand what was happening. The country seemed to have two lives. In one – Magnitogorsk, Chkalov, in the other – arrests. I was arrested in Tashkent, and when tortured, I wheezed: “I am a Bolshevik!” Remaining “an enemy of the people,” I built a hydroelectric power plant in the Caucasus and on the Volga, and finally the 20th congress returned a membership card to me. Then I, the Bolshevik, went to build a hydroelectric station in Bratsk. To our young change I will say: there is no place in the commune for scoundrels.
Shadows of our loved ones
In Hellas was the custom: starting to build a house, the first stone was put in the shadow of a beloved woman. I do not know whose shadow was laid the first stone in Bratsk, but when I peer into the dam, I see in it your shadows, builders, loved ones. And I put the first line of this poem in the shadow of my beloved, as if in a shadow of conscience.
Standing at the foot of the Bratsk hydropower plant, I immediately thought of Mayakovsky: he seemed to have risen in her guise. He as a dam stands across a lie and teaches us to stand for the cause of the revolution.
The Night of Poetry
On the Bratsk Sea, we read poems, sang a song about commissars. And before me stood the commissars. And I heard how, in the meaningful grandeur of hydroelectric power plants, it thunders over the false greatness of the pyramids. In the Bratsk hydropower plant, the mother image of Russia was revealed to me. There are still many slaves on the earth, but if love fights, but does not behold, then hatred is powerless. There is no destiny purer and more exalted – to give all life so that all people on earth can say: “We are not slaves.”