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34424reasons for revolution

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  • louise
    Jun 1, 2005
      On 18 February 1964 Joseph Brodsky, of Leningrad, born in 1940, was
      brought to trial. A literary critic named Frida Vigdorova attended
      and took down a transcript. Unknown to her, this found its way to
      the West where it was printed, firstly, in the Polish journal
      *Kultura* which appeared monthly in Paris, and later in the American
      *New Leader*, in *Figaro Litteraire*, *Die Zeit* and *Encounter*.
      This was how the trial opened:

      *Judge*: Prisoner Brodsky, what is your profession?
      *Brodsky*: I am a poet. I suppose ...
      *J*: We don't want any 'I suppose' in this court. Stand up straight
      and stop leaning against the wall. In future you will face the
      court and answer the questions properly. Do you have any permanent
      *B*: I thought that was permanent employment.
      *J*: Answer the question properly.
      *B*: I write poems. I thought they were going to be published. I
      suppose ...
      *J*: We're not interested in what you suppose. Tell us why you
      refused to work.
      *B*: I did work. I wrote poems.


      ok, so heres an example of one of mr. Brodsky's poems



      Fishes live in winter
      fishes chew oxygen.
      Fishes swim in winter,
      scraping their eyes on the ice.
      ____Where it's deeper.
      Where the sea is.
      Fishes swim in winter.
      Fishes want to swim out of it.
      Fishes swim without light
      under a sun wintry and shaky.
      fishes swim away from death
      their eternal fishy way.
      ___Fishes do not shed tears;
      ___leaning their heads against the icebergs
      ___the cold water
      ___the cold eyes of the fishes.
      ___Fishes are always silent,
      ___because they
      _______cannot speak.
      Poems about fishes
      ____like fishes,
      stick in the throat of the poet.

      (the transcriber winces at those unsightly lines - my only known
      method of keeping margins as the poet Joseph intended; all boys and
      girls of good will may copy the poem in longhand thus to recreate
      the pristine, the original, flow)

      Biographical details and poem borrowed from
      'Elegy to John Donne', by Joseph Brodsky, Longmans, Green & Co.
      This English translation copyright Nicholas Bethell 1967.