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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Bird Falls -- A Soviet War Poem



Bird Falls


Though in the morning clouds of smoke still curl

Above the blown-up ruins of our home,

And caught by deadly cannonfire, a bird

Falls, burned to charcoal, on the tortured loam,

Though still in the white nights our dreams are haunted

By melancholy visions of past love,

Old village streets with white acacia foaming

And trills of nightingales re-echoing above,


Though still at war, we stubbornly believe

A day will come when pain and grief will cease,

And the world's gates will open wide to us

And dawn will bring us happiness and peace.


Just one more enemy—one well-aimed shot—the last,

Then morning's first bright beam as clear as glass....

And yet, my soldier-friend, how life flies fast—

These tortured years like minutes seemed to pass.


But we will not succumb to memories.

Why should we cloud our days with morbid sorrow—

We've lived like men—for man, for life, for peace

And for a happier tomorrow. -- Soviet Lieutenant Georgi Suvorov 1944, poem written in action near Narva.


In the first winter of the war after the Nazis and their allies invaded the USSR, Lieutenant Georgi Suvorov served in the Panfilov Division which won everlasting fame in the defence of Moscow. He was heavily wounded, but returned to active service after leaving hospital, and was in action near Leningrad in the spring of 1942. He wrote this poem a few days before he was killed in February, 1944, while crossing the Narva River.

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