Russian Quotes (147 Quotes)
“It was hard to decide on a literature course. Everything the professors said seemed to be somehow beside the point. You wanted to know why Anna had to die, and instead they told you that 19th century Russian landowners felt conflicted about whether they were really a part of Europe. The implication was that it was somehow naive to want to talk about anything interesting, or to think that you would ever know anything important.”
“That is the way we decided to talk, free and easy, two young men discussing a boxing match. That was the only way to talk. You couldn't let too much truth seep into your conversation, you couldn't admit with your mouth what your eyes had seen. If you opened the door even a centimeter, you would smell the rot outside and hear the screams. You did not open the door. You kept your mind on the tasks of the day, the hunt for food and water and something to burn, and you saved the rest for the end of the war.”
“Oh, what a love it was, utterly free, unique, like nothing else on earth! Their thoughts were like other people's songs.
They loved each other, not driven by necessity, by the "blaze of passion" often falsely ascribed to love. They loved each other because everything around them willed it, the trees and the clouds and the sky over their heads and the earth under their feet. Perhaps their surrounding world, the strangers they met in the street, the wide expanses they saw on their walks, the rooms in which they lived or met, took more delight in their love than they themselves did.”
“April was just beginning, and after the warm spring day it turned cooler, slightly frosty, and a breath of spring could be felt in the soft, cold air. The road from the convent to town was sandy, they had to go at a walking pace; and on both sides of the carriage, in the bright, still moonlight, pilgrims trudged over the sand. And everyone was silent, deep in thought, everything around was welcoming, young, so near— the trees, the sky, even the moon—and one wanted to think it would always be so.”
“Every morning I called Aeroflot to ask about my suitcase. "Oh, it's you," sighed the clerk. "Yes, I have your request right here. Address: Yasnaya Polyana, Tolstoy's house. When we find the suitcase we will send it to you. In the meantime, are you familiar with our Russian phrase *resignation of the soul*?”
“I don't know if you're alive or dead.
Can you on earth be sought,
or only when the sunsets fade
be mourned secretly in my thought?
All is for you: the daily prayer,
the sleepless heat at night,
and of my verses, the white
flock, and of my eyes, the blue fire.
No-one was more cherished, no-one tortured
me more, not
even the one who betrayed me to torture,
not even the one who caressed me and forgot.”
Nobody simpler than us, or with
more pride, or fewer tears.
Our hearts don't wear it as an amulet,
it doesn't sob beneath the poet's hand,
nor irritate the wounds we can't forget
in our bitter sleep. It's not the Promised Land.
Our souls don't calculate its worth
as a commodity to be sold and bought;
sick, and poor, and silent on this earth,
often we don't give it a thought.
Yes, for us it's the dirt on our galoshes,
yes, for us it's the grit between our teeth.
Dust, and we grind and crumble and crush it,
the gentle and unimplicated earth.
But we'll lie in it, become its weeds and flowers,
so unembarrassedly we call it - ours.”