On a recent Sunday morning, I commented to my taxi driver about the beautiful morning, so cold and crisp with brilliant sunshine. He smiled in the rearview mirror and said Oh yes, Mor-OZ ee SOLN-sa (that is, Frost and sunshine) and I thought nothing more about the description he had right there at the tip of his tongue.
Shortly thereafter, in our children’s Bible class, I commented about the beautiful morning straight from God’s hand. Dima, 11, piped up and said, Frost and sunshine, day so wondrous, in Russian of course, repeating what the taxi driver had said earlier. But Dima he kept on going. And kept going, reciting some verse that he knew by heart. I just sat there in awe.
Dima, was that a poem or what?
That was Pushkin.
But, of course. Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837) is the most beloved poet of Russia and many a school child has memorized a favorite poem or two. Besides that, I’d wager that in every community across the land, there would be a statue or street or square named in Pushkin’s honor. Having lived seven years on Pushkin-skaya (the proper noun transformed into an adjective by the fancy suffix), the pedestrian-only boulevard that bisects downtown Rostov, I myself feel a special affinity for Pushkin.
That evening, I did an internet search on Pushkin and that poem and up came the original poem, Winter Morning, 30 lines long as well as the English translation. Of course it flows so majestically in the original language.
Above, memorial to Pushkin on after a heavy snow that downed tree branches on Pushkinskaya Boulevard.