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This poem is taken from PN Review 163, Volume 31 Number 5, May - June 2005.

The Estate Sasha Dugdale

There is a popular legend that Pushkin set out to see his friends in St Petersburg from Mikhailovskoye, his family's estate, in the winter of 1825. A hare ran across his path and Pushkin turned back, thinking this to be a bad sign. A few days later his friends took part in the Decembrist uprising and were executed or sentenced to exile and hard labour. Pushkin sketched portraits of these men at Mikhailovskoye, and wrote above his sketches that he would have been amongst them. 'Zaitz' is the Russian for hare; 'ozero' is the Russian for lake.

Zaitz

Noon, and the woods are still bright
With the sun, the snow that fell last night.
The birds, the few that haven't gone
Are watched by a fisherman, crouching alone.
I've been here a while by the lake
Where the ice is marbled, opaque
I've been here a while, sniffing about
Wondering if he will come riding out
Knowing that he must come riding by
Past the dark mill on the rise
As he approaches through the snow
I will prick my ears and I will know
And then when he draws close at last
I will throw myself across his path.
...


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