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SRPA AN94253577

Dear Walter,

    I was thinking about our conversations about
translation, about how a poem is never really translated
because the sounds, the essence of the poem change when the
language changes. So the best that can be is a new poem
built on the bones of the old. I am thinking about
Pushkin. Of course, you are thinking, Stas thinks about
Pushkin all the time. But if that is true, that
translation of a poem makes a different, maybe equally
beautiful but still different poem, then there are few
people in the world today who really love and appreciate
Pushkin. For there are very few Russians. Perhaps a few
thousand? And of those, how many have pieces of Pushkin by
heart?
    I am a man on an island, old friend, a tiny island,
and the water is rising. The poems and plays of Pushkin,
the way we would picnic in the winter, drinking sweet sweet
tea from a glass, little things that are very dear to me,
they are all disappearing. "Ecstacy is a glass of tea and
a piece of sugar in the mouth," Pushkin says. But it is
not the same in exile. I do not want to be the last
Russian.
    You know it is easy to ignore it, when you go out in
the streets of Washington D.C. and everything seems so
normal. You go into the diner and you get your bacon and
eggs and coffee in those heavy ceramic coffee cups you
Americans all love. But your culture is rooted in Europe
old friend. The Mona Lisa is gone. Michelangelo's David
is also gone. Berlin is not a city anymore, at least not
for us.
    I am sorry old friend. Soon, I am afraid, they will
be here, and America will shrink. You may survive, to run
ahead of them the way I did. Behind you, all you hold dear
will be destroyed. Ahead of us is death, at best, and at
worst we will become monsters with no memory of Pushkin or
Goethe or those beautiful German military strategists you
have so carefully translated.
    I am a coward. But I will not be the last Russian.
And I will not be a monster.
    Good bye.

Sincerely,

Stanislaw Ivanovich Ozerov

NoteEdit

This letter contains the third Document Control Number the AAA is looking for: gt2wqy56sjzh

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