War – crueler there is no word.
War – sadder there is no word
War is holier than words
In the melancholy and glory of these years.
And on our lips is different
It can not yet be.
A. T. Twardowski
Since June 1941, Alexander Tvardovsky begins work in the editorial office of the newspaper South-Western Front “Red Army”. He writes poetry, essays, satirical articles, articles, songs, notes. Unfortunately, the notebook with Tvardovsky’s notes about the first months of work disappeared. But there were lines that captured the first days of the war, the most terrible and grievous period of the Great Patriotic War.
It was a great sadness,
As we wandered to the east.
Were thin, walked barefoot
What is there, where is she, Russia,
What is your own line?
The memorial of those years was the book “Vasily Terkin”. This is a book about “the truth of what exists, the truth, directly into the soul of the beating.” In one of the chapters, “The Crossing”, the poet writes that “the battle is not for fame – for the sake of life on earth”, instilling into the fighters the consciousness of holiness and the rightness of their cause.
Working on the poem, Tvardovsky set a definite goal: to help the veteran overcome the difficulties of war, to facilitate and at least somehow brighten up his harsh life, instill a sense of faith in his own strengths and capabilities.
In the spring of 1942, Tvardovsky wrote a poem “Partisans of Smolensk”. The people took it as a message of liberation, the first spark of hope. Smolensk is the birthplace of the poet, and one can understand what these lines cost Tvardovsky. Every word is a cry of the soul, a pain of the heart:
I would forever robbers
I would not forgive yours,
What did they see you?
The enemy’s eye is empty;
What lands on your feet
With hands foul
They touched you;
What an ugly name
What in the Dnieper did you wash
A war has passed,
But the pain appeals to people:
Come on, people, never
We will not forget about this.
In the work of Tvardovsky’s military period, the children’s theme is very noteworthy. With especial steadfastness the poet looks at women’s and children’s fates, with inexpressible pain and with unconcealed sorrow thinks of them. This is the “commander’s wife who fled Minsk with her children on the night of the first brutal bombing”; and “a boy carrying a mother on the sled, badly wounded when there was a battle for their village”; and “a girl with a child in the arms of the corpse of the mother.” A great many lines in verse and prose are written about the war, but nothing was more penetrating than the lines of Tvardovsky’s “Retribution”, it was not read:
And our righteous judgment is severe,
And there is no mercy for the place.
And do not ask her,
We will be deaf to the dead.
Ask those whose
Russia Ruined an innocent soul.
Ask the girl from the one,
What, in the barrel of guns looking,
I asked with childish simplicity: –
Stockings too, uncle? –
At that, the thin body whose
At the edge of the moat set.
Ask for mercy from her,
And we have no right to spare.
In the poem “I’m killed under Rzhev,” the poet chooses the form of spelling from the first person. This is most consistent with the idea of a poem that praises the unity of the dead and the living. The monologue of the warrior, with the growing emotionality of narrating about his own death “in the summer, in the forty-second”, reaches the highest heat in such lines:
No it is not true. Tasks
That did not win the enemy!
No, no! Otherwise
Even to the dead – how?
The deceased soldier sees himself only as a “part of the people’s whole,” and he cares about everything that happened afterwards, after him. He says:
I will live to you, –
What more can I do?
This great responsibility to the memory of the deceased, the responsibility for how a person decreed his fate, redeemed from Death by the cost of another’s life, is felt very sharply by a poet. Is not this the source of the civic position, for whose fidelity one of the writers called Tvardovsky “the conscience of post-war literature”.
Until the end of his days, Alexander Trifonovich Tvardovsky carried a kind of embarrassment about his fate and the fate of those who returned alive from the terrible whirlwind of the war. He wrote:
I know, no fault of mine
The fact that others did not come from the war,
In that they are – who is older, who is younger –
Stayed there, and not about the same speech,
That I could, but could not save, –
It’s not about that, but still, still, though.