The Southern California Anthology, Vol. XXI, 2006


The American Academy of Arts and Sciences counts among its manifold members Yevgeny Yevtushenko, who writes a poem on a recent disaster at home, “School in Beslan”.  He sees himself as “a drop-out of all the world’s schools”, he goes to Beslan for a lesson.  “Beslan, I know I am a bad father...”


Everything was jumbled up in Beslan:

horror, disorder, confusion...


Between charred school desks and clouds of smoke,

Mohammed and Christ wander like brothers

picking up the children by little pieces.


That is Yevtushenko’s conclusion, it seems simple, but he has arrived at it through an extraordinary realization.


In Russia, I was called a dynamite poet.

Now, compared to dynamite, I am a mosquito.

None of us could be justified

if something like this is possible.


After all, it’s the death of little children he’s talking about.  “But mourning crescent moon embraced a mourning cross.”  A simple image, worthy of its subject.