Alexander Blok. Selected Poems by Avril Pyman

By Avril Pyman

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DePmas (the "Carmen" of Blok's verses), who remained a true and faithful friend to the end of his days, was only the most intense and joyous of a series of fleeting relationships which left nothing behind but—poetry... H Btinaji CHer H He nporHaTt ΜΗΘ 3βΜΗΗχ n a p . . H ΗΘ BepHyTB ΤΘΧ ΗθΓ H CTpaHHO BCnOMHHaTB Ητο 6HJI nojKap. (And the snow fell And I can't chase away These earthly charms... ) Lyubov' Dmitriyevna and Blok continued as before—unhappy apart, of­ ten miserable together, but essential to one another, deeply loving, suffering, always vulnerable in everything that concerned the other.

In Brittany, he found inspiration for the play The Rose and the Cross (1912). But from Paris he wrote to his mother: At times the heat and meaninglessness take on an aspect of sheer genius. Various drinking-houses and café-concerts of almost unadulterated vulgarity. The usual blasphemies, pornography calculated to impress no-one but a third-to-fifth-form school-boy. Some­ times—a really witty vaudeville, or, suddenly—an astonishing song, always old (prov­ ençale, for instance), or something that has already been heard a thousand times (one of Yvette Gilbert's, for example).

There was, however, one aspect of Russia's social troubles which did im­ pinge upon Blok's conscious mind—even during his years of "extreme indi­ vidualism" before the First Revolution. This was the problem of man and the machine (see the poem "The Factory", No. 22 and note). He did feel a common humanity with the factory workers of Petersburg and, whereas he felt a bookish admiration for rather than indignation on behalf of the peas­ ant behind the plough, he shrank with every fibre of his being from the idea of day after day spent in the service of machines.

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