Guest poem submitted by Rama Rao:
(Poem #1776) Talk
You're a brave man they tell me. I'm not. Courage has never been my quality. Only I thought it disproportionate so to degrade myself as others did. No foundations trembled. My voice no more than laughed at pompous falsity; I did no more than write, never denounced, I left out nothing I had thought about, defended who deserved it, put a brand on the untalented, the ersatz writers (doing what anyhow had to be done). And now they press to tell me that I'm brave. How sharply our children will be ashamed taking at last their vengeance for these horrors remembering how in so strange a time common integrity could look like courage.
Translated by Robin Milner-Galland and Peter Levi. What can be more representative of the times we live in than these lines? Although perhaps referring to the pre-Khruschev times of the Soviet Union, the poem is equally valid when we face the distortion and humbug prevalent in so many places. And nothing is more powerful than the last line: "common integrity could look like courage". Yevtushenko is already on the Minstrels and profiled also [see Poem #850, Poem #1532, Poem #1561 for examples -ed.]. Rama Rao.