Unreal Nature

November 27, 2015

We Walked Our Road Together

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:24 am

… It seemed as though the dawn would last all of our lives.

This is from Bowstring: On the Dissimilarity of the Similar by Viktor Shklovsky; translated by Shushan Avagyan (1970; 2011):

… Every person has a vivid picture at the bottom of his memory, like golden sand washed in a sieve.

… Occasionally, the mind retains color, as if it were a flag on the shore that one has left, or as if it were an oath.

… A person returns to his cradle and tries to rock it, wanting to hear the old squeak.

[ … ]

… Still young and restless, we worked and went on strolls together. We walked our road together — Boris Eichenbaum, Yuri Tynjanov, and I — the only one alive today.

We strolled in the squares and along the banks of the Neva.

They had cut off the Senate Square with a small park a long time ago, blocking out the memory of the Decembrist revolt and disconnecting the buildings that were once interconnected.

Kyukhlya had walked through here, and probably Pushkin, too. The St. Isaac’s Cathedral hadn’t been built yet. Instead there were warehouses, piles of planks and stones, and the crowd — from behind the fences, hurled stones at the Tsar’s loyal cavalry that had been sent to suppress the revolt.

The silent equestrian — Peter the Great — galloped in the square, his outstretched arm pointing toward the West. We could see our university’s narrow side reddening behind the Neva, which wasn’t gray or blue that night, but pink.

The night never came and it never passed.

It seemed as though the dawn would last all of our lives.

The young Pushkin, who had already authored numerous works and who was guilty of nothing, during such a night reproached himself for accomplishing too little, for not having lived right.

Responsibility has no boundaries.

Art resolves things differently.

In the light of the white night we reread the past without justifying ourselves.

The city of revolution, the city of Russian book printing, the city of Pushkin and Dostoevsky, the city of Blok, Mayakovsky, the city of Gorky, the city of quarrelling quarters, palaces and factories, the city of a river, the ice of which has been drenched in blood so many times — Petersburg, we love you as Leningrad in our lifetime, we love you till death! We swear by you in our books!

The world was young then. The ships stood on the wide Neva, ready to discover new planets. Everything was ready for sailing and for change.

Everything was in the future. Everything was half written and unfinished.

Everything was exciting.

The heavy St. Isaac’s Cathedral was raising its glinting cupola above the city.

The years passed like the days of creation.


My most recent previous post from Shklovsky’s book is here.




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