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Poem of the week: The Sparrows of Butyrka by Irina Ratushinskaya

26 days ago   |   By The Guardian

The Soviet-era dissident writer's defiant prison lyric has lost none of its immediacy
The Sparrows of Butyrka Now even the snow has grown sad -
Let overwhelmed reason go,
And let's smoke our cigarettes through the air-vent,
Let's at least set the smoke free.
A sparrow flies up -
And looks at us with a searching eye:
‘Share your crust with me!'
And in honourable fashion you share it with him.
The sparrows - they know
Who to ask for bread.
Even though there's a double grille on the windows -
And only a crumb can get through.
What do they care
Whether you were on trial or not?
If you've fed...
Read more ...

 


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