I loved you; and perhaps I love you still,
The flame, perhaps, is not extinguished; yet
It burns so quietly within my soul,
No longer should you feel distressed by it.
Silently and hopelessly I loved you,
At times too jealous and at times too shy.
God grant you find another who will love you
As tenderly and truthfully as I.
— Alexander Pushkin, “I Loved You”
Although most readers are familiar with the Russian Literary Triumvirate that is Anton Chekhov, Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky, in many ways Pushkin is seen as the mack daddy of Russian literature. No small feat, indeed.
Today, he is probably most famous for the novel Eugene Onegin, but Pushkin – aside from being considered the father of his nation’s canon of modern literature – is better known inside the frozen borders of that limitless country as its greatest poet. The poem I chose today for the QOTD is one example of his brilliance, though you’ll see countless translations of the same poem all over the interweb.
Per the Wiki entry on this:
“I Loved You” is a poem by Pushkin written in 1829 and published in 1830. It has been described as “the quintessential statement of the theme of lost love” in Russian poetry, and an example of Pushkin’s respectful attitude towards women.
“The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.”
Honoré de Balzac
In “honoré” (hot diggity – dog ziggity boom – I’m funny!) of the fact that my new office is a coffee shop called Balzac’s, that the first book I ever read for a book club 13 years ago was Dai Sijie’s Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (great book, beautiful cover design by the way), and that my mum is a 24/7 rock star, I dedicate this Quote of the Day to her – and to all the moms out there who practice forgiveness on a daily basis with aplomb, like it’s a freakin’ walk in the park, the easiest thing in the world to do.
Balzac was a bit of a bad-ass rebel in his day, the early 19th century. Born in the same year as Alexander Pushkin, Balzac followed a professional path not totally dissimilar to that of another towering artistic figure – Wassily Kandinsky. Both would start out in law, quickly grow bored of its banality, and move on to writing and painting, respectively. More than that, both would go on to shape their respective fields like few before or after them.
I’ll finish this post off with one more quote from Balzac that I’ve always wholeheartedly believed in:
“There is no such thing as a great talent without great will power.”