Posts tagged “Will My Tale is Told” Indiana University Press

“Till My Tale is Told” – Part V – “Demoralized Individuals”

“…an unrelenting and protracted campaign waged against unarmed, divided, and often demoralized individuals by a merciless and seemingly omnipotent regime.”

The above quote I got out of the book “Till My Tale is Told” editted by Simeon Vilensky and published by Indiana University Press in 1999.  I need to read the entire book by Vilensky of accounts written by these said “demoralized individuals.” Yet so many other victims of the Soviet regime will have stories that are left untold because it was against the law to be writing anything about the cruelties and vulgarities of the Soviet system.  There were brave heroes who did battle in their own way, using the gifts they were given to put their experiences into verse, such as the poet Anna Barkova.  See what she wrote in 1952 in Russian about her experience, thankfully it has been translated into English:


Our time has its own heroes,

Not twenty, not thirty years old.

Such could not bear this burden,


We’re the heroes, born with the century,

Walking in step with the years;

We are victims, we’re prophets and heralds,

Allies and enemies.

We cast spells with Blok the magician,

We fought the noble fight,

We treasured one blond curl as keepsake,

And slunk to brothels at night.

We struck off our chains with “the people”,

And proclaimed ourselves in their debt;

Like Gorky, we wandered with beggars;

Like Tolstoy, we wore peasant shirts.

The troops of Old Belief Cossacks

Bruised our backs with their flails,

And we gnawed at the meagre portions

Served to us in Bolshevik jails.

We shook when we saw diamond emblems

or collars of raspberry hue:

We sheltered from German bombardment

And answered our inquisitors, “No!”

We’ve seen everything, and survived it,

We were shot, beaten, tempered like steel;

The embittered sons, angry daughters,

Of a country embittered, brought low.

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