Friday, June 3, 2011

Suppose it were Friday iii


  In the Summer Ivan Grigoryevich traveled to the seaside town where, beneath a green hill, his father's house had stood.
  The train went right along the shore. During a short stop, Ivan Grigoryevich got out and looked at the green-and-black water. It was always moving, and it smelled cool and salty.

  The wind and the sea had been there when the investigator summoned him for interrogations during the night. They had been there while a grave was being dug for a prisoner who had died in transit. They had been there while guard dogs barked beneath the barrack windows and the snow creaked beneath the boots of the guards.

  The sea was eternal, and the eternity of its freedom seemed to Ivan Grigoryevich to be akin to indifference. The sea had not cared about Ivan Grigoryevich when he was living beyond the Arctic Circle, nor would its thundering, splashing freedom care about him when he ceased to live. No, he thought, this is not freedom. This is astronomical space come down to earth, a splinter of eternity, indifferent, always in motion.

  The sea was not freedom; it was a likeness of freedom, a symbol of freedom .. How splendid freedom must be if a mere likeness of it, a mere reminder of it, is enough to fill a man with happiness.

Vasily Grossman
Everything Flows
op. post, 1964
Robert Chandler, Elizabeth Chandler
  and Anna Astanyan, translators
New York Review Books, 2009©


  1. Steadiness in motion..
    flows gently..
    yet, can slay anyhting,
    even turn off fire in its anger...
    can get through anything.
    Everything men have always wanted to be.

  2. Fantastic, Joss. Now, who'd have brought that up if you hadn't done so? I miss your contributions and I thank you for this one!