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The bar-room rabble-rousers / give off a stench of vodka and onion.

A boot kicks me aside, helpless. / In vain I plead with these pogrom bullies.

While they jeer and shout, / "Beat the Yids. Save Russia!"

 
 

 

Babii Yar

By Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Over Babii Yar

there are no memorials.

The steep hillside like a rough gravestone.

I am frightened.

Today I am as old as all the Jewish people.

I seem to be a Jew at this moment

Here I plod through ancient Egypt.

I, crucified. I perishing.

Even today I bear the scars of nails.

I think also of Dreyfus. I am he.

The Philistine my judge and my accuser.

Cut off by bars and cornered,

ringed round, spat on, slandered.

Screaming ladies with Brussels lace

stick their parasols into my face.

I am also a boy in Byelostok.

Blood runs, spilling over the floors.

The bar-room rabble-rousers

give off a stench of vodka and onion.

A boot kicks me aside, helpless.

In vain I plead with these pogrom bullies.

While they jeer and shout,

"Beat the Yids. Save Russia!"

the corn chandler beats up my mother.

I seem to be Anne Frank

transparent as an April twig

and am in love, and have no need of words,

My need is that we look at each other.

How little we can see or smell

separated from the leaves, denied the sky.

Yet we can do so much--tenderly

embrace each other in a dark room.

They’re coming. Be not afraid. 

The booming sounds of spring:

It is coming this way. Come then to me.

Quickly, give me your lips.

They're battering down the door.

It's the roar of the ice.

                                 

Over Babii Yar

the wild grasses rustle.

The trees look ominous, like judges.

And everything is one silent cry

Baring my head

I feel myself turning gray.

And I am one massive, soundless scream

above the many thousand buried here.

I am each old man shot dead.

I am every child shot dead.

Oh my Russian people, I know you.

Your nature is the  "Internationale." 

Foul hands rattle your clean name.

I know the goodness of my country.

How horrible that pompous title

the antisemites calmly call themselves,

Society of the Russian People.

No part of me can ever forget it.

When the last antisemite on earth

is buried forever

let the "Internationale" ring out

In me there is no Jewish blood,

but in their callous rage, all antisemites

hate me now as a Jew.

For that reason

I am a true Russian!

 

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  /  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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updated 11 June 2008

 

 

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Related files:  Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans  Evtushenko in Satchmo's New Orleans    Babii Yar  Lit a la Russe  Armstrong's Trumpet 

 Another look at Israel Table  Poems about Palestine