It was an author who wrote about what he could not himself, and about the places where he had never been. Those who knew him from an early age characterized the work of their friend in this way.
“This" Fleming "splendidly, like no one praising all kinds of food, could not see a lot of food. The sight of people eating food was painful for him,”Vera Inber recalled.
The singer of smugglers and fishermen, according to Valentin Kataev, "was terribly afraid of the sea and tried not to approach it closer than twenty meters."
The cruelty-eater suffered from asthma from early childhood, which prevented him from physically participating in battles.
And, nevertheless, his poems were memorized not only by several generations of Soviet pioneers, but also by adults who visited the very epicenter of what Eduard Bagritsky wrote about.
"Jewish peacocks on the upholstery, Jewish sour cream"
Jewishness did not suit Edward since childhood. He, as it should be, "circumcised on the seventh day", persistently tried to break with his environment and described the life around him in such colors that even the most patented anti-Semite did not get close to:
Above the cradle, rusty Jews of slanting beards crossed blades. And everything is turned inside out. Everything is not necessary. The carp knocked on the window glass; The horse chirped; in the palm of the hand a hawk was falling; A tree danced. And childhood went on. He was dried up with unleavened bread. They tried to deceive him with a candle. The tablets were pushed to him at close range, The gates that could not be opened. Jewish peacocks on the upholstery, Jewish sour cream, The crutch of his father and mother's caps -All muttered to me: “Scoundrel! Scoundrel!"
Seeing these lines, the poet's mother was indignant: “When did he see the sour cream here ?! Our cream was always the freshest! But the poet did not want to take into account the opinion of his mother and continued in the same spirit:
All this stood across the road, Sick bronchi whistling in his chest: Outcast! Take your wretched belongings, Curse and contempt!
Compare how these lines differed from the poem of Chaim-Nakhman Bialik, The Legend of the Pogrom, translated by Volodya Zhabotinsky, an Odessa resident who is fifteen years older than Edik:
Get up and walk through the city of massacre, And touch with your hand, and fix in your gaze, Dry on the trunks and stones and fences, Cold brain and blood in lumps; then they are.
At that time, this difference was an insurmountable abyss: Zhabotinsky was born under Alexander II, and the future Bagritsky - under Nicholas II. One tried to defend his Jewry and make it completely modern, while the other wanted to break with the roots once and for all and roll into a tumbleweed where it was already cramped even without him - into Russian literature.
And yet Bagritsky could not completely break with his national identity. It was not for nothing that he turned to her in his last poem "February", summing up his life path.
My Jewish pride sang, Like a string stretched to failure I would give a lot so that my ancestor In a long-legged dressing gown and a fox's hat, From under which a gray spiral Falls sideways and dandruff like a cloud Flies over a square beard So that this ancestor would recognize a descendant In a kid, flying like a tower and the bayonets of the truck that shook midnight
"Slashed schoolchildren like an automatic meat grinder"
But headlights flying in the night and trucks with bayonets, which paved the way for Bagritsky in Russian literature, will come later. And at first, his path lay not through Jewish religious educational institutions - heder and yeshiva, but through the real school of V. A. Zhukovsky on Kherson Street. It was called not in honor of the great poet and educator Alexander II Vasily Andreevich, but in honor of its owner and director Valerian Andreevich, about whom Lev Davydovich Trotsky recalled:
“The geographer Zhukovsky was feared like fire. He cut schoolchildren like an automatic meat grinder. During the lessons Zhukovsky demanded some completely unrealizable silence. Often, interrupting the student's story, he became alert with the air of a predator listening to the sound of distant danger. Everyone knew what that meant: one should not move and, if possible, not breathe. Only once in my memory Zhukovsky let the reins a little bit, I think it was on his birthday."
About what a realist Edik Dzyuban was, who had already become Dzyubin, his classmate Daniil Desner told:
“I studied with Bagritsky - Edka Dzyubin at the Odessa real school of V. A. Zhukovsky on the former Kherson street, 26. For two years in the first and second grade: 1905 and 1906 I sat with Edka at the same desk. I must say that he was not particularly successful in his studies, but he drew cartoons of teachers skillfully, and at our request, instantly, on drawing paper with a pencil or charcoal, a caricature, surprising in its resemblance, appeared.
Desner also wrote that Bagritsky was expelled from the school "for quiet successes with loud behavior." Then he returned there in 1910-1912, but completed his studies not there, but in the land surveyor school (1913-1915).
“He spoke in a special plebeian, so-called“redneck”voice. It was a careless softening of the sibilants, it was an e instead of an o. Each word was spoken with the greatest disgust, as if between two spits over the shoulder. This is what street boys used to say, borrowing the manners of bindyuzhniks, sailors and those old-fashioned bums with which the Odessa port was boiling,”- this is how the realist Edka Dzyubin saw the schoolboy Valka Kataev for the first time, already collaborating on a literary basis with the Union of the Russian People.
Whether Edka was going to become a land surveyor is unknown. But the fact that, in parallel with his studies, in 1914 he worked as an editor in the Odessa branch of the Petrograd Telegraph Agency (PTA) and served as a clerk for the 25th medical writing unit of the All-Russian Union of Aid to the Sick and Wounded is known for certain.
It is also precisely recorded that in 1915 he participated in the Persian expedition of General Nikolai Baratov. But whether Edka reached Hamadan or was only preparing this heroic event, history is silent.
"It is difficult for the bird catcher"
The first poems of the young poet were published in 1913 and 1914 in the anthology "Accords" (1-2, under the pseudonym "Edward D.").
Since 1915, under the pseudonym "Eduard Bagritsky", "Desi" and the female mask "Nina Voskresenskaya", he began to publish in the Odessa literary almanacs "Auto in the Clouds" (1915), "Silver Trumpets" (1915), in the collective collection "Miracle in desert”(1917), in the newspaper“Yuzhnaya Mysl”poems noted by contemporaries by imitating Stevenson, Mayakovsky and Gumilev.
The First World War was going on and Bagritsky obviously did not leave aside the patriotic wave characteristic of its initial period. In the poem "Slavs" after the idyllic picture of the unity of pagan ancestors with nature "Teutons come from sunset / With a cross and a mad eagle", swords with axes come into play and now the cut-out hearts of the discoverers are thrown to the altar of Perun.
But the most famous poem of the early Bagritsky was "The Birdman", which is still popular among fans of the author's song thanks to Tatiana and Sergei Nikitin. The same word became a cipher for Bagritsky in the novel-rebus of his friend Valentin Kataev “My Diamond Crown”.
“A small scar on the cheek. Slowly maturing, he became that famous poet, whose name - or rather his provincial pseudonym - is taken for granted, Valentin Petrovich stamped for centuries.
He also gave a description of Bagritsky, which makes the image of the poet visible:
“His arms with tense biceps were bent like a wrestler's, the side parting was disheveled, and his hair fell on his low forehead, Baudelaire's eyes looked darkly from under his eyebrows, an ominously twisted mouth at the word“laughing”revealed the absence of a front tooth. He looked like a strong man, an athlete. Even the small scar on his muscularly tense cheek - the mark of a child cut by a shard of window glass - was perceived as a healed wound from a pirate sword. Subsequently, I learned that since childhood he suffers from bronchial asthma and his whole, as it were, gladiatorial appearance is nothing more than a posture that was not easily given."
And the fact that Edka knew bird habits is attested by another friend of his of those years, the writer Sergei Bondarin:
“And now the bundle of books is already tied to the belt belt, the cap was pushed to the back of the head with a slight push, and you suddenly walked to the old Aleksandrovsky Park, the alleys of which are laid along the very cliff to the seashore - a cherished place of all treasury officials.
You can already see individual figures in the alleys among the wet bushes. In the gait, in every gesture of these little people, you guess the same state that overtakes you - both delight and apprehension.
Edward always preferred solitude. I understand him well. It is difficult for the bird-catcher. He throws snares among the bushes, while he hid himself. A skillful whistle was heard in the silence of the park. In this business, Edward was a great master. Already by this art of whistling to the birds, Edward imperiously asserted the right to his free, pure, strict borrowings from Burns, to his imitation of the Flemish hero Ulenspiegel."
Then a circle of young authors arose in Odessa, which Valentin Kataev for many years, not without envy, characterized as follows:
“The bird-catcher belonged to that elite of local poets, which was inaccessible to me. These were older poets, mostly decadent and Symbolists. With the money of a rich young man - the son of a banker, philanthropist and dilettante - almanacs of a square format, on glossy paper, with chic names "Silk Lanterns", "Silver Trumpets", "Cars in the Clouds" and so on were published for this elite. In these almanacs, where birders and eskess reigned as stars of the first magnitude, I did not go with my realistic provincial rhymes. Still would! They even called their group "Violet Slopes". Where can I be!"
And then there was a revolution.
“We, who dreamed of weapons, immediately got them in unlimited quantities,” the poet recalled in the 1930s. - Almost all of my friends shot each other out of inability to handle him. I shot myself only with my left palm,”Bagritsky himself told about her first days in February.
The writer Zinaida Shishova recalled: “Bagritsky came to the revolution as if he were home. A homeless vagabond and romantic, he came, sat down, threw down his cap and asked for bread and bacon."
Unlike his friend Vali Kataev, Edka had no choice. For the Whites and Petliurists, he did not come out as a "fifth point", but described the Makhnovists in the "Duma on Opanas." “Do you think that in reality it is not yet clear for Bagritsky where and with whom he should be? He has Chekists friends! " - spoke about the choice of the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky.
In April 1919, Bagritsky volunteered for the Red Army, served in the Special Partisan Detachment of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, after its reorganization - as a political department instructor in the Separate Rifle Brigade, wrote campaign poems. And not only them. For example, this:
Oh, epic cuckoo! Now, Forgetting the reserved silence, Over the crow and wolf desert, you fly like a clear swan
In June 1919 he returned to Odessa, where, together with Valentin Kataev and Yuri Olesha, he worked at the Bureau of the Ukrainian Press (BUP). Since May 1920, as a poet and artist, he worked in YugROSTA (Southern Bureau of the Ukrainian branch of the Russian Telegraph Agency), together with Yuri Olesha, Vladimir Narbut, Sergei Bondarin, Valentin Kataev. Then he was published in Odessa newspapers and humorous magazines under the pseudonyms "Someone Vasya", "Nina Voskresenskaya", "Rabkor Gortsev".
In December 1920, Bagritsky married the eldest of the Suok sisters, Lydia Gustavovna. And in 1922 they had a son, Vsevolod, who later also became a popular poet.
“It is already difficult to find witnesses to the 'literary Odessa of the 1920s', participants in the stormy unforgettable readings in the university lecture halls, in the workshops of artists, in the devastated apartments that belonged to the escaped rich. I am looking for and do not find participants in unrestrained poetry vigils, walks at dawn with reading poetry - across the city from the club of railway workers in Moldavanka, where the democratic youth of the Potoki circle was grouped around their senior comrade Eduard Bagritsky
Among the audience, at a table in the corner, sat a young, cropped woman with a sweet, cheerful face. She inquisitively, very interested, although somewhat bewildered, watched through her pince-nez the simple events of the staging, carefully examined the elderly poet-innkeeper. It was Lida Suok - Edward's wife - S. Bondarin recalled. - Eduard Georgievich had a lot of acquaintances and friends. Paustovsky also says that almost everyone he met on the streets of Odessa was a friend of Bagritsky."
The same Bondarin described the life of a young family as follows:
“A young family - and let's put it bluntly - wandered from apartment to apartment due to poverty. At some particularly difficult moment, she settled on the mezzanine in a large communal apartment. The mezzanines were located above the bathroom and toilet, and high windows were shared, so that in the bathroom you could clearly hear what was happening on the mezzanine.”
When Odessa smelled of Ukrainization and Russian writers of all nationalities became irrelevant there, Bagritsky left first for Nikolaev, and then for Moscow, or rather, in Kuntsevo, which at that time was a nearby suburb of the capital.
"White Chamber, Painted Door"
The poet lived in Kuntsevo for nine years. From there he took the Duma about Opanas (1926) to the Moscow editorial offices on a commuter train. This poem itself very much upset Edik's relatives: just imagine, the epigraph to it is taken from Shevchenko's anti-Semitic poem "Haidamaki"! Bloody, terrible, unbridled, but very right in time and place.
Ukraine! Mother, dear! Young rye! We used to go to the Cossacks, And now - to the bandits!
And then there was an apartment in the very center of Moscow, in Kamergersky Lane. There, the Bagritskys had a housekeeper Masha, whom the terminally ill poet taught to mumble at the table: "Masha, eat cheese inside!"
“In this late period, Bagritsky became aware of what he lacked in his youth - the feeling of the significance of his fate, the understanding that his biography is one of the most important topics of our time. The man of the twenties felt himself in Bagritsky. Here the spiritual work of a whole generation was expressed. That is why Bagritsky's lyrics have become lyrics on the verge of an epic - this is how Sergey Bondarin described the mature Bagritsky.
It was there that The Death of a Pioneer (1932) appeared, written under the impression of the death of the daughter of the owners of the apartment, which the poet rented in Kuntsevo. However, this poem was given to the set by Lydia Gustavovna. Eduard was already almost unable to move due to his chronic asthma. The main reader of the USSR, Comrade Stalin, liked these poems very much, and schoolchildren from Murmansk to Vladivostok began to recite them.
The uncompromising break with the past - with religion, with the world of parents - that's what it was necessary to instill in the generation of Pavlik Morozov's peers. And the girl dying of scarlet fever is not being fooled by the requests of the unfortunate mother:
Do not resist, Valenka! He will not eat you, Gilded, little, Your baptismal cross.
But what a cross can be, what a boring mother, when there is such a country around, such events:
Youth led us On a saber campaign, Youth threw us On the ice of Kronstadt.
War horses carried us away, On a wide square, they killed us.
But in feverish blood We raised ourselves, But the blind eyes We opened.
Arise a commonwealthCrow with a fighter - Strengthen, courage, Steel and lead.
And the dying child does not take the cross, refuses Christian death, looking "Into the world wide open to the fury of the winds." Of course, there was no traditional farewell to the deceased even after Eduard Bagritsky himself died on February 16, 1934. It was not the rabbi who accompanied him on his last journey, but a whole squadron of red cavalry.
Bagritsky did not live up to the Congress of Soviet Writers, or to the arrest of his wife, who spent nineteen years in the Gulag and lived until 1969. But his mother, Ita Abramovna, who died in 1939, managed to see everything.
Rather, almost everything. The fact that Savenko-parents in honor of Bagritsky would name their son, who later became a literary man Limonov, no one could have imagined.
P. S. On the first site of the Novodevichy cemetery, there is a fence, in which the monument on the grave of Eduard Bagritsky stands out. Nearby is the cenotaph of his son Vsevolod, who died near Leningrad in 1942 (put by the mother, aunts and fiancee of Seva - later the famous Elena Bonner). Yuri Olesha and all three Suok sisters were also buried there.