Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Me, Love, and Pushkin

This sounds more like a confession than an analysis. In fact, I think it IS a confession. Alexander Pushkin's two love poems are my love stories – in real life. I'd like to share it to know whether my readers have the same experience.

All my love stories consist of either of these things below. The first is an unwanted love, or, perhaps, a forbidden love. I liked a person with whom I could never be, and then I found Pushkin's love poem, Confession.

I love you-- though I rage at it,
Though it is shame and toil misguided,
And to my folly self-derided
Here at your feet I will admit!
It ill befits my years, my station,
Good sense has long been overdue!
And yet, by every indication,
Love's plague has stricken me anew:
You're out of sight-- I fall to yawning;
You're here-- I suffer and feel blue,
And barely keep myself from owning,
Dear elf, how much I care for you!
Aline! I ask but to be pitied,
I do not dare to plead for love;
Love, for the sins I have committed,
I am perhaps not worthy of.
But make believe! Your gaze, dear elf,
Is fit to conjure with, believe me!
Ah, it is easy to deceive me!. . .
I long to be deceived myself!

The second type of love that I experience is the love described in Pushkin's other poem, I loved you. I feel like I don't love the person anymore, but who knows whether some love lingers still within my heart?

I loved you; and perhaps I love you still,
The flame, perhaps, is not extinguished; yet
It burns so quietly within my soul,
No longer should you feel distressed by it.
Silently and hopelessly I loved you,
At times too jealous and at times too shy.
God grant you find another who will love you
As tenderly and truthfully as I

Truthful in every line, I was driven to madness upon reading it. I read it over and over again aloud while taking a bath, hurting my heart everytime I did so. I had forgotten this poem for some time, then I remember it again. The occasion dictates so.

I don't know what's wrong. Perhaps Pushkin and me, far separated by time and place in this world, share still the same fate. Or perhaps the story is so common that the poems are just general thoughts or ordinary phase of life. But I'm still grateful that at least somebody can put in words what I cannot put myself. And perhaps instead of these two sad love poems I will find a love fit for Shakespeare's line, a love “for one, of one, still such and ever so” that won't “alter when alteration finds, or bend with the remover to remove.”


  1. I feel the same way about his book Eugene Onegin. "I Loved You" is also one of my favorites; I first heard it as a song on Dmitri Hvorostovsky's CD, Pushkin Romances.

    1. Dmitri? I must look for the song. He's one of my favourite baritones, along with Bryn Terfel and Ruggero Raimondi.

      I've never read Eugine Onegin, but it's on my list. Will certainly read it before the project ends.