To Make Life | Vladimir Mayakovsky to Sergei Esenin, 1926

Esenin Moscow 1922

Sergei Yesenin in 1922

Sergei Alexandrovich Yesenin (1895 -1925) was a Russian lyric poet. On 28 of December in 1925 Yesenin was found dead in the room in the Hotel Angleterre in St Petersburg. His last poem Goodbye my friend, goodbye  according to Wolf Ehrlich was written by him the day before he died. Yesenin complained that there was no ink in the room, and he was forced to write with his blood.

“Farewell, my good friend, farewell.
In my heart, forever, you’ll stay.
May the fated parting foretell
That again we’ll meet up someday.
Let no words, no handshakes ensue,
No saddened brows in remorse, –
To die, in this life, is not new,
And living’s no newer, of course.”

Mayakovsky had never been a big fan of Esenin and his more conventional style, but he did recognize Esenin
as “a journeyman of the Russian word.” Esenin had concluded his suicide poem with the lines:

“In this life, dying is nothing new.
But living, of course, isn’t any newer.”

In response, Mayakovsky ended his poem Sergeiu Eseninu (“To Sergei Esenin”) with this variation:

In this life, to die is not so difficult,
to make life is considerably more difficult.


Aleksandr Rodchenko, Cover of Sergeiu Eseninu (To Sergei Esenin) by Vladimir Mayakovsky, 1926

“Our planet is poorly equipped for delight.
One must snatch gladness from the days that are.
In this life it’s not difficult to die.
To make life is more difficult by far.”

Vladimir  Mayakovsky to To Sergei Esenin, 1926

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