Sunday, June 19, 2011

Wait for me, a poem by Konstantin Simonov.

Post 616 - The Soviet poet and novelist Konstantin Mikhailovich Simonov (1915 - 1979) is best known for his patriotic verse dealing with World War II and for his vivid prose descriptions of Soviet troops in action during the war. He was born in St. Petersburg and received a degree in literature from the Gorky Institute of Literature in Moscow in 1939. Simonov then became a member of the Communist party, and in 1941 was called to military duty as a correspondent for the journal Red Star. His wartime dispatches were read by a wide audience, and he was awarded several medals for his work, including the Stalin Prize. After World War II, Simonov traveled extensively as a member of various literary and journalistic delegations, visiting Japan, China, the United States, and Western Europe. A member of the editorial boards of various Soviet journals and publishing houses, he twice served as a deputy to the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. In 1968, he and other high-ranking members of the Union of Soviet Writers refused to sign a statement of official support for the government's invasion of Czechoslovakia; yet he remained an esteemed member of the Soviet literary establishment. Throughout the 1970s, he served as secretary of the Union of Writers. He died in Moscow in 1979.

Wait for me by Konstantin Simonov.

Wait for me and I’ll return, only wait very hard.
Wait when you are filled with sorrow as you watch the yellow rain.
Wait when the wind sweeps the snowdrifts.
Wait in the sweltering heat.
Wait when others have stopped waiting, forgetting their yesterdays.
Wait even when from afar no letters come for you.
Wait even when others are tired of waiting.

Wait for me and I’ll return, but wait patiently.
Wait even when you are told that you should forget.
Wait even when my mother and son think I am no more.
And when friends sit around the fire drinking to my memory
Wait and do not hurry to drink to my memory too.

Wait for me and I’ll return, defying every death.
And let those who do not wait say that I was lucky.
They will never understand that in the midst of death
You with your waiting saved me.
Only you and I will know how I survived:
It was because you waited as no one else did.


Unknown said...

That's my favorite one so far!!

Love you!

G Raggio said...

Heard this the first time on the series "World at War" in the late 60's... Sir Lawrence Oliver recited it. It filled the room and then the vacuum that followed made it very, memorable...

Liam said...

I'm watching the World at War episode Raggio was talking about: The Siege of Lenningrad.

Anonymous said...

I'm watching that same series, I heard this poem for the first time on 'Siege of Leningrad'. Very beautiful poem.

Anonymous said...

I have this in the handwriting of both my father, a WWII vet who fought in Europe, and that of my mother. During Vietnam, when I was worried about a friend serving there, Dad said he'd be OK, he knew he had a girl waiting for him at home. This poem obviously meant a great deal although I never saw it until both parents were gone.

Ben said...

just came across this poem today on "World at War" series "The Siege of Leningrad", a very beautiful poem. There's another one in the same series "Son" written by Pavel Antokolsky. Very powerful and moving...

Gail said...

Lawrence Olivier reciting this over the cold, desolate scenes in the World At War Series brought me to tears. Every time it comes to mind my eyes well with tears. Gail

Mark Le Gros Allen said...

Here is a metrical translation which I prefer, as I find it has more impact, and reflects the structure and metre of the Russian original:

to Valentina Serova

Wait for me, and I’ll come back!
Wait with all you’ve got!
Wait, when dreary yellow rains
Tell you, you should not.
Wait when snow is falling fast,
Wait when summer’s hot,
Wait when yesterdays are past,
Others are forgot.
Wait, when from that far-off place,
Letters don’t arrive.
Wait, when those with whom you wait
Doubt if I’m alive.

Wait for me, and I’ll come back!
Wait in patience yet
When they tell you off by heart
That you should forget.
Even when my dearest ones
Say that I am lost,
Even when my friends give up,
Sit and count the cost,
Drink a glass of bitter wine
To the fallen friend –
Wait! And do not drink with them!
Wait until the end!

Wait for me and I’ll come back,
Dodging every fate!
“What a bit of luck!” they’ll say,
Those that would not wait.
They will never understand
How amidst the strife,
By your waiting for me, dear,
You had saved my life.
Only you and I will know
How you got me through.
Simply – you knew how to wait –
No one else but you.


I found it at It is one of several at I think the translation is by Mike Munford.

Larry said...

So simple, and so incredibly moving.