The Friday Poem: ‘There are no boring people in this world’ by Yevgeny Yevtushenko

“There are no boring people in this world.

Each fate is like the history of a planet.”

As a society we are exceptional at memorializing celebrity. Yet as a nation, we have yet to have a day of mourning for the casualties of the pandemic: 896,183

“… it isn’t people but whole worlds that perish.”

These words were written by poet Yevgeney Yevtushenko, and translated by Boris Dralyuk. This version appeared in The Guardian in 2017, a few weeks after the poet’s death.

“I write poetry, prose, and everything I do, I do on the principle of Russian borscht. You can throw everything into it — beets, carrots, cabbage, onions, everything you want. What’s important is the result, the taste of the borscht.”

‘There are no boring people in this world.’

There are no boring people in this world.
Each fate is like the history of a planet.
And no two planets are alike at all.
Each is distinct – you simply can’t compare it.

If someone lived without attracting notice
and made a friend of their obscurity –
then their uniqueness was precisely this.
Their very plainness made them interesting.

Each person has a world that’s all their own.
Each of those worlds must have its finest moment
and each must have its hour of bitter torment –
and yet, to us, both hours remain unknown.

When people die, they do not die alone.
They die along with their first kiss, first combat.
They take away their first day in the snow …
All gone, all gone – there’s just no way to stop it.

There may be much that’s fated to remain,
but something – something leaves us all the same.
The rules are cruel, the game nightmarish –
it isn’t people but whole worlds that perish.

The Guardian 5/6/17

And the final stanza, omitted in The Guardian, translated by Jennifer Croft and Boris Dralyuk.

People die. Their deaths can’t be reversed.
Their secret worlds won’t be traversed
again. And all that’s ever left for me to do
is cry, How can we lose you, too?

That is our question to answer. How can we lose another whole world without notice?

Photo credit: ‘In America: Remember’ installation William Atkins GW Today 9/28/21

Photo credit: Yevgeny Yevtushenko Brandi Simmons for The New York Times

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s