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I have come across a beautiful short poem today that I want to share with you. The poem is called Autumn and it was written by Sergey Yesenin in 1914.




Тихо в чаще можжевеля по обрыву
Осень — рыжая кобыла — чешет гривы.


Над речным покровом берегов
Слышен синий лязг ее подков.


Схимник-ветер шагом осторожным
Мнет листву по выступам дорожным


И целует на рябиновом кусту
Язвы красные незримому Христу.


(Сергей Есенин, 1914)


In the first lines of this poem, Sergey Yesenin compares the coming of autumn with a red mare. A horse embodies freedom in the Russian literature. The poet chose the image of a mare to convey the elusive nature of the season. The mare does not stride at a gallop or a canter. It stood still for a moment on the edge of a juniper grove, quietly brushing its mane. The poet depicts the mare in the bright red colour. In nature, this is the colour, that once flared, will fade away pretty quickly.

The second stanza strengthens the feeling of loneliness that usually accompanies autumn. As early frosts begin to freeze water in the rivers, we can hear the “blue” clang of the mare’s hoofs in the mist of the river banks.

The last two stanzas urge to accept the inevitable change and to seek redemption. The wind is a symbol of change, but here it also stands for asceticism in the personification of a monk. The monk walks slowly crumpling the foliage on the road. He walks towards a rowan shrub to kiss burning scarlet wounds of Christ.

In this poem Sergey Yesenin conveys his understanding of fleetness of a human life. Youth is like a transient autumn that looses its bright colours to make way to winter, leaving vivid memories behind. It is impossible to stop the clock and make one’s life in its prime last a little longer. When a rackety youth with its mistakes, sins and vices ends, the period of reflection and judgment begins.