When you open at random a book of Bunin’s poems, lazily looking through the lines of the lines, and the familiar images are as always good and fresh as if they were meeting them for the first time: the sadness at sunset, and the “forest as if painted,” and simple but deep and sonorous rhymes – “spring is sad,” “day is a village,” “supply is freedom,” it seems that nothing better can not be. How can prose express such a thing?
And flowers, and bumblebees, and grass, and ears,
And azure, and the midday heat…
The time will come – the Lord of the prodigal son will ask:
“Was you happy in the life of the earth?”
And forget everything – I remember only these
And from the sweet tears I will not have time to respond
To merciful knees pripav.
Where did she get so much music and witchcraft, prose? It is another genre of art. It breathes and thinks differently. And it would be all right, if it were not for the poet who composed it, if not the same images and signs generously scattered it across the pages.
Often talk about the unique Bunin intonation, about music in his stories, they say as they say about poetry. And can it be otherwise, when it is written: “I remember the big, all the dried up and dilapidated garden, I remember the maple alleys, the delicate aroma of fallen leaves and the smell of Antonov apples, the smell of honey and autumn freshness.”
Of course – this is prose, very good and beautifully written prose, but here is the same theme:
In the straw, near the stove, on the floor
There was a pile of apples, cobwebs
Under the image they rocked in the corner,
And at the wall the harpsichords darkened.
It does not occur to say: “This is written like this, and not in a different way, better or worse.” “Antonov’s apples” and “Desolation” are made equally beautifully, and it is clear that this is not the main thing. What is more important is that Bunin erases the notion of genre belonging. The powerful and melancholic energy of a genius creates his own Bunin literature. In it, besides the visibly perceptible personality of the author, there is a limited set of images; and most often it is a dilapidated farmstead, in a overgrown garden a maple, lime or birch avenue, it leads to a river or pond, two to three benches, and on the back – the time of year. Most often, autumn, less often – spring or summer. And again: the village, the field beyond it and the forest.
Let’s remember how in the “Antonov apple” hero lives in his memories of a long and touching manor autumn. With hunts, lunches, biblical images of peasants from rich Vyselok. And what kind of beautiful, sunburnt, weather-beaten people gather in Arseny Semyonych: in pendants and long boots, flushed after dinner and “noisy conversations.” And the garden after the rain: “But how beautiful it was when the clear weather came again, the clear and cold days of the beginning of October, the farewell holiday of autumn!” But the same images, the same mood, the same music:
I’ll go to the cold nude garden.
All scattered on the ground is his outfit,
the sky is shining with Turquoise, and the
nasturtiums are burning in a red flame.
One gets the impression that it was not essential for Bunin, in what form to realize the aesthetic feeling experienced by him. Verses and prose are not his rivals. Like androgynous: they are one, absolute and perfect. Content and significance for Bunin was not a problem: poetry is prose, but the fact that poetry and prose do not want anything to do with reality as history. His stories and stories, his poems – all this is just a memory of the “golden age”, where to live the autumn – to live life. Where all is well. And what was, and what is: “The smell of Antonov’s apples disappears from the landed estates.” These days were so recently, and meanwhile it seems to me that almost a century has passed since that time. “The old people in Vyselky died, Anna died Gerasimovna, shot himself Arseny Se-menych… The kingdom of the petty landed, impoverished to beggary. But this beggarly small-land life is also good. The autumn is already ending. Zasimok, the first snow! “And here is the poetic hypostasis of the image:
The first matinee is the harbinger of winter days,
But the sky is shining brighter from height, The
heart has become sober and colder.
But as the flame grows late flowers.
Aesthetics Bunin is inseparable from prose. Their genre peculiarity fulfills exclusively the official task: to make absolute the authenticity of that spiritual reality with which the author deals. They, like two mirrors, reflect a certain mental image of the world, its events and its own history. These images complement each other, experience mutual influence, while obeying the laws of their own genre. For Bunin, this type of attitude to literature is natural, like breathing. His works – memories, his sign system are homogeneous and stable throughout life. His first story is as good as the last, and they are as well unified and supplemented, bringing to the ultimate beauty of sound, the poems written by him all his life.
Again, the cold gray skies,
Desert fields, packed roads,
On red carpets similar woods,
And a troika at the porch, and servants on the threshold…