Solzhenitsyn dies at 89

In the throws of shock and awe, I only have a few things to say.

Solzhenitsyn is dead, one of the last genius personally connected to a historical time that saw not only the execution of over 30 million people, but was closely associated either personally or through proximity to a litter of gifts, such as Akhmatova, Tsvetayeva, Mayakovsky, Mandelstam, Pasternak to name some of the greats.

Sometime in the mid 70's I watched an interview Solzhenitsyn gave to 60 minutes, parts of it I still recall today, particularly his disgust with America and american culture, despite our country giving him a home after Russia exiled him, our country embracing his work and helping to make him a famous man that has departed equally famous. His revulsion of America has always rubbed me the wrong way. His leaving his people with his tail between his legs has equally rubbed me the wrong way.

For both reasons I could never bring myself to be a fan of his work, regardless of its merit. One of the first songs I ever heard/liked (1976) by Renaissance was their live version of Mother Russia which was written for/about Solzhenitsyn. "So cold/so true/Mother Russia/He cries for you"...the song still gives me goose bumps. But these days when I choose to listen to the song I think of the person who for me really lived, breathed and sacrificed EVERYTHING for Mother Russia and that person is the great Anna Akhmatova! (Not where the sky's dome enclosed a foreign space/Nor where foreign wings sheltered and reassured/But among my people I took up my place/There, where by an ill fate, my own people were)

I feel sad that he is dead, but not because he was a genius or because he was a worthy figure, but because he was a link to a time and a group that is quickly disappearing and of which we as a people cannot afford to lose.

Mother Russia (betty thatcher-lyrics)

Pays the price, works the seasons through
Frozen days, he thinks of you
Cold as ice but he burns for you
Mother russia, cant you hear him too?

Mothers son, freedoms overdue
Lonely man, he thinks of you
He isnt done, only lives for you
Mother russia, cant you hear him too?

Punished for his written thoughts
Starving for his fame
Working blindly, building blocks
Number for a name, his blood flows frozen to the snow

Red blood, white snow
He knows frozen rivers wont flow
So cold, so true
Mother russia--he cries for you

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