Get a feeling of Anna Akhmatova’s poetry


portrait by Petrov-Vodkin

portrait by Petrov-Vodkin

From Wikipedia: ” Anna Andreyevna Gorenko, better known by the pen name Anna Akhmatova, was a Russian modernist poet, one of the most acclaimed writers in the Russian canon.”

She was born in Odessa (Ukraine) in 1889. I was born in the same city in 1934.

Her poetry loved by every Russian speaking person.

Anna’s life was very interesting and tragic. I am going to write about it later.

Below is one of her poems. It translated by Richard McKane.


I taught myself to live simply and wisely,
to look at the sky and pray to God,
and to wander long before evening
to tire my superfluous worries.


When the burdocks rustle in the ravine
and the yellow-red rowanberry cluster droops
I compose happy verses
about life’s decay, decay and beauty.


I come back. The fluffy cat
licks my palm, purrs so sweetly
and the fire flares bright
on the saw-mill turret by the lake.


Only the cry of a stork landing on the roof
occasionally breaks the silence.
If you knock on my door
I may not even hear.


We live many lives

One week after I started this blog I published a post “We live many lives”. Today I decided to copy it here because it is a central post to my understanding of life and pursuit of happiness.

I want to stress that life always requires to make risky choices. When you decide to marry or not to marry it is one of the riskiest choices in your life.

I also want to stress one sentence in the post below:

“a human being is born for happiness but happiness is not
quaranteed, it must be achieved!”
  • ” Man is born to be happy as a bird is born to fly”.

                                                         V. Korolenko

First of all, what is life?

There are different definitions of it.

Here are some of them:

-sequences of physical and mental experiences that make up the existence of an individual

– spiritual existence transcending physical death

– the period from birth to death
– a specific phase of earthly existence. 

It’s easy to see that they have different meaning and some of
them are contradictory.
If life is “the period from birth to death” how can it also be “spiritual existence transcending physical death”?
If life is “a specific phase of earthly existence” it definitely means
that all of us live many lives.
My memory keeps happy days of childhood in Odessa (Ukraine),
a beautiful port city.
June 22 was my mother’s birthday and has always been a very
joyful  day for my family.
However, on June 22 1941 Germany attacked the USSR and
a terrible war started. My happy first life ended that day.
I also remember my life in Tashkent (capital of Uzbekistan), It was
so different from my first life. New city, new people, new language.
My father was in the army,  my mother worked in the hospital in
another city and I lived with my grandparents in a tiny room with a clay
floor. There was too little food, we were lacking many necessities
but  my grandparents loved me very much and l loved going to school.
We had wonderful teachers, real professionals who loved their
Then there was a life in Moscow where I graduated from college, met my
wonderful wife and we started our family.
That life was very difficult too.
We lived in the totalitarian country where people could disappear at any
moment. My wife did not know her father. He was arrested and
executed a month before she was born.  28 years later my mother-in-law
received an official letter that he was innocent.
Three of us lived in a small apartment with three other families.
There was only a big sofa in our room, so my mother-in-law
had to go to sleep to her sister who lived nearby..
My wife was a designer and I worked on my dissertation at that
time and our love, our interesting work, love of our relatives and
friends made us happy.
A year after our marriage our son was born.
He had to sleep in the crib on the wide windowsill as there was no
other place for him in our room.
Our dream was also to have a girl. But first we needed  a better
place for our family,
So we worked very hard for years. Besides working in research I
wrote books. We saved money and realized our dream by buying a  nice
two bedroom apartment. And we were happy to live there with our
two children.(a boy and a girl).
Yes, a human being is born for happiness but happiness is not
quaranteed, it must be achieved!.
Every person must grow mentally and spiritually. And with the growth new
goals come.
We were happy to live in our new apartment. Both of us were successful in
our careers. We lived in the center of Moscow and had many friends,
But gradually we came to understanding that it was our duty to leave the
USSR, to bring our children into the free world and to experience freedom
of a democratic society.
We made a very risky choice to apply for a permission to emigrate.
Nobody knew if the permission would be granted. We had to resign from
our jobs and to keep our children at home.
We were lucky to get a permission to emigrate after waiting for
five months.  In February of 1975 we left the Soviet Union and then
a new cycle of lives in USA started.

My painting #13

My first birthday (true story).

This story inspired by the photo of NATALIA MAKS‘ below (used with her blessing).




I was born in Odessa, a wonderful Ukrainian city on the shore of the Black Sea.

In May of 1935 my family celebrated my first birthday. At that time my father was 23 years old and my mother was two years younger.

My father was a very strong man. He could easily bend horseshoes. He was also a terrific swimmer.

His younger two brothers and three sisters and my mother’s younger brother were very good swimmers too. During summers they often volunteered as lifeguards.

It was a gorgeous sunny day and everyone was in the huge yard of our apartment house. Several tables were set in a circle. My large deep bath tub was placed in the center of the circle and I was enjoying life playing with rubber toys.

Embed from Getty Images

Everyone else was not playing. There were good speeches, strong drinks and abundance of food. My 40 years old Grandma was taking care of everything on the tables and often went to our apartment with somebody else to bring more food and drinks.

At one moment several sparrows came to see what was going on. I turned to watch them, lost my balance and went under the water. Then I tried to sit up but without success.

My parents and some other members of the family saw that I was drowning but they could not move. They were paralyzed!

Fortunately, at that moment my Grandma returned from the apartment and immediately picked me up. She checked that I was still alive and well. Then she looked at my parents, uncles and aunts and said just one word: “Lifeguards!”




My mother’s birthday.

Preliminary note: I was born in Odessa, a beautiful Ukrainian city on the shore of Black Sea. In several days I will be 80 years old.


“Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it”.

Edmund Burke


It was one of the happiest days of my life. My beautiful mother became 27  years old. My father returned from a business trip to Moscow and gave me a terrific birthday present – a German two-wheels bicycle with wide tires. 

It was my first two-wheels bicycle but it took only several minutes to learn how to ride it. Then my friends Vladimir and Peter brought their bicycles and we went outside to ride around the block.

There was a gorgeous summer day, the day of summer solstice. Almost no clouds and a light breeze from the sea. Adults were busy preparing for the birthday party and we enjoyed our freedom very much.

All of a sudden we heard a loud music. Pedestrians came closer to loudspeakers (there were several of them on each block). Soon music stopped and somebody started a speech. We continued to ride around our block. Then there was silence.

A man came to us and said: “Boys, immediately go to your parents! A war started! Germans invaded our country!”

When I came home women were crying. Soon all of my uncles came to congratulate my mother and to give her their presents. Three of them were already in uniform. They kissed everyone and left. Then other men (relatives and friends) came to say goodbye.

It was a very sad birthday party. There were only women, old men and children. Nobody knew what would happen with us and if we would see our men again.

I went to sleep early and I did not know that at night bombs were falling on our wonderful city and people were dying.


The Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union against Hitler’s Germany and its european allies lasted almost four years (June 22, 1941 – May 9, 1945). Nazi’s Germany was defeated but the USSR lost more than 26 mln people and the whole population went through terrible sufferings.

You can read about it and see some pictures HERE.


In her “Remembering Rotterdam Blitz” post ( Susanti wrote: ” No wars have real winners, no citizens would enjoy living when their freedom and their identity being scrapped. The truth is people suffered most during the wars. It is a tragedy to be avoided”.

I am glad that she and some other bloggers remember history!



It is trying time for people who lived both in Ukraine and Russia. I am one of these people. That’s why I decided to reblog this post today.

Art of Michael and Inessa Garmash.

Michael and Inessa Garmash are ukrainian artists. Some people believe that they are the best Romantic Impressionists of our days.

Please read about them and see some of their paintings HERE.

You can see much more and slowly, day by day enjoy their paintings below:


11 years of artist Sasha Putrya.

I was born in 1934 in Odessa, Ukraine. Forty three years later (we already lived in New York) Sasha Putrya was born near Poltava, Ukraine (360 miles northeast from Odessa).

Sasha Putrya lived only 11 years but she became famous in many countries.

Read about her life and see her paintings below.