In the 1914 year, of course, everything was not so clear. After all, these theses Yesenin made during the years of Soviet power. He did not intend to go into conflict with her because of interpretations of the First World War, and the poet’s revolutionary worldview was also said. He is genuinely critical - peasant in style! - related to that war. In the unfinished late poem "Walk-field" there are lines:
Peasants! Yes what's the deal
Peasants in the world before the war.
They only used their field noisy,
To farm was intact
As the welfare of the country ...
To such generalizations Yesenin came after the First World War and the Civil War ...
But in his autobiography, recalling the past, he was silent about what did not fit into his new belief system. One should not underestimate Yesenin’s political insight. It is enough to recall how capacious and precise the definition he gave to the crisis years of the Russian Empire:
And the aristocrat sold the power
Industrialists and bankers ...
Here we see not the lyrics, not the picturesque “hooligan”, as Yesenin appeared in his most famous poems, but an analyst capable of political aphorisms.
However, let's fast forward to the times of the Great War, when Yesenin had not yet written his main lines.
In October, 1914-he turned nineteen. The war flared up, in the capitals a patriotic upheaval was interspersed with panic after the first tragic news from the front. Yesenin was subject to mobilization. For the first time, he mentions this in a letter to a friend of her youth, Maria Balsamova, on 24 on April 1915, from St. Petersburg, renamed Petrograd: "In Ryazan, I will be 14 in May. I need to be called ...". Later, in July 1915, he told in a letter to V. Chernyavsky: "I was released from military service until the autumn. They left my eyes. First they took it completely ...".
It was then that he asserted himself in the literary world. Acquaintance with venerable poets, first saloon performances, first publications and temptations ... He was perceived as “peasant exoticism”, and he noticed, quickly learned everything, worked for “bad” and for true glory. Yesenin wrote about the war - but not in the spirit of a patriotic battle heroic. He saw the Second Patriotic War through village images, far from the front, and still engulfed in war. However, he dedicated a poem - though not the most successful - and the Belgian tragedy. Impressed by the first months of the war, Yesenin will write several poems - almost all of them will be published quickly. Perhaps the best of them and the most famous is Mother's Prayer:
At the edge of the village
There before the icon
An old woman is praying.
Praying old woman
Commemorates the Son -
Son in a faraway land
Praying old woman
Wipes away tears
And in the eyes of tired
Dreams are flourishing.
They see the field -
This is a battlefield,
Sees the son in the field -
On the chest wide
There was a wound,
Squeezed the banner
And from happiness with sorrow
She's all frozen,
In her arms bent.
And closed eyebrows
And from the eyes, like beads,
Tears roll in.
Poems in the spirit of Nekrasov - like a folk song. And it is significant that the hero warrior Yesenin - not yet familiar with the army structure - shows through the tragedy of the old mother. Already mother tears he had seen by the age of nineteen, there was a personal experience ...
Then they paid attention to the publication. By new contact with the army Yesenin will come already well-known poet.
At the end of 1915, it became clear that the service could not be avoided.
In January, 1916, one of his senior friends, the poet Sergei Gorodetsky, addressed Colonel Dmitry Nikolaevich Loman, who served as a head officer at the Palace Commandant and was authorized for the Tsarskoye Selo military sanitary train No. 143. Gorodetsky asked to arrange Yesenin to be an orderly on the train in order to avoid sending a talented poet to the front.
Gorodetsky, for good reason, chose Lohman for the mission of “saving the poet”. The colonel - a staunch monarchist and a man of high society - was a connoisseur and expert in the arts. He was fond of Russian antiquities, artists Vasnetsov, Roerich, Bilibin, Nesterov were frequent guests in his house ... The surname “Yesenin” was not an empty sound for him - in the poems of a young peasant poet, images of Russia also appeared to him.
Loman didn’t just satisfy Gorodetsky’s request - he decided to become the patron saint of the young poet and even in his heart dreamed of inspiring patriotic feelings and turning him into an ideological monarchist. On January 16, the colonel sent a petition to the mobilization department of the Main Directorate of the General Staff, No. 56, in which the Yesenin surname was named among the orderlies called in to Tsarskoye Selo.
But things were moving slowly - and in the twenties of March, Yesenin was called up to the reserve battalion for military service. Then Nikolai Klyuev, speaking in the cabin of the court colonel, addressed Loman. The letter he wrote in his taste, flowery. Lohman was attracted by the intricate style: “The most beautiful of the sons of the baptized kingdom, my bright brother Sergey Yesenin, was taken to the army of health with assignment to the train No. 143.
At present, he, Yesenin, is threatened with being sent to the expatriate field to the advanced trenches. The nearest authorities advise Yesenin to bother to be immediately demanded in the above-mentioned train. Otherwise, sending to the trenches is unavoidable. I beg you, merciful, for the sake of a dear song and a great Great Russian word to beg for Esenin’s call on the train - soon.
In the desire for you to keep your mind and body healthy, I remain about the song brother, the prayer house Nikolai son Alekseev Klyuev. ”
Finally, it was confirmed: Yesenin was called to the orderlies of the “royal” train. The service of Colonel Lohman was located in an amazing place - in Feodorovsky town on the outskirts of Tsarskoye Selo.
This fabulous town was built in the Russian style, designed by the architect Krechinsky, for the 300 anniversary of the Romanov dynasty. In 1915, the year of his tower and temples were brand new, they still smelled of lime, tesos and paints. Yesenin arrived there on April 20 (as you can see, orders were executed without haste, with delays). Loman immediately showed cordiality and respect for the poet. Even in his autobiography, Yesenin did not forget about Lohman - who was shot by that time: “With some patronage of Colonel Lohman, the empress’s adjutant, he was presented with many benefits.”
In the first days of the poet, they did not burden office assignments - but the time came to travel around Russia in a hospital on wheels, smelling of drugs and death. Such was the "Field Tsarskoye Selo military-sanitary train No. 143 of Her Imperial Majesty, the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna."
“The military sanitary train consisted of twenty-one Pulman wagons. It was unusually comfortable: the blue wagons with white roofs looked very elegant. True, after the Austrian raid aviation the roofs were repainted in a protective color, "testifies the son of Colonel Loman, a wonderful memoirist, the empress’s godson. He survived the revolutionary storm, forever retained his love for Yesenin and even adapted himself to the Soviet regime.
So, Yesenin order by train appointed an orderly to the sixth car. The work is exhausting. It was necessary to monitor the cleanliness, to transfer the seriously wounded and sick, to care for them, to receive and distribute food ... However, Yesenin was protected, not too busy with work. To him established a special relationship.
Esenin’s first trip to the front line as part of train No. 143 began on April 27 of the year 1916. A long way, the first collision with a bloody front-line reality ... There were still orders for the train, information about the route: Tsarskoye Selo - Petrograd - Moscow - Belgorod - Melitopol - Poltava - Kiev - Rovno - Shepetovka, and again Gomel - Orsha - Petrograd - Tsarskoe Selo .
Yesenin remembered parking in blossoming spring Kiev. The orderlies visited the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, defended the night service. In general, Lohman sought to introduce young people to the faith - and Yesenin remembered half-forgotten prayers.
In the ambulance train, the Ryazan boy saw the whole of Russia, right down to the sea. Together with the orderlies and wounded griefs, he will visit the Crimea. Will see the sea.
But the main thing is not bells, not southern beauties, not the banks of the Dnieper, sung by beloved Gogol.
The poet first saw the death agony, blood, courage and cowardice, he saw death. These pictures will turn his mind: he will now write in a new way. Not Klyuevski, but Yesenin’s sharply.
Until mid-summer, he lived on wheels, and then Loman considered it a blessing to see the poet every day with the secret desire to present the poet to the empress ... Esenin began his service in Feodorovsky town in July - in the office and the infirmary. Here he was visited by friends, here Loman introduced him to high life and indulged in delicacies - right up to good wines.
And on July 22, 1916, the legendary performance of Esenin took place in front of two empresses and other members of the royal family. Legendary - because information about him is contradictory. But almost all connoisseurs of Yesenin's poetry are aware of this meeting, especially after the colorful (and not entirely plausible) biographical television series about the poet.
That was the name-day of the widowed empress-mother Maria Feodorovna, by whom Yesenin was already represented by the efforts of tireless Lohmann. Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and her daughters were also present at the celebration. The patriotic colonel stood the program in the Russian style: an ensemble of balalaika run by Vasily Andreev and Yesenin, who not only read poetry, but also conducted a concert. All were dressed in folk style and tried to talk eloquently, as in the epic.
Yesenin presented to Alexandra Feodorovna a special copy of the poet’s first book, Radunitsy. The second gift was the poem “To the princesses”, written in golden Slavonic script in a richly decorated “address”.
The poem does not seem to be the brightest, but mysterious:
In the crimson glow of sunset sparkling and foam,
White birches are burning in their things,
Greetings to my poem young Tsarevin
And the gentleness of the young in their tender hearts
Where the shadows are pale and sorrowful torments,
They are the one who went to suffer for us,
Stretch the royal arms,
Blessing them for the coming life of the hour.
On a bed of white, in the glare of light,
The one whose life they want to return is crying ...
And the walls of the infirmary tremble
From pity that he squeezes his chest.
Closer draw their hand irresistible
There, where sorrow puts a stamp on his forehead.
Oh pray, Holy Magdalene,
For their fate.
It is difficult not to subtract from these lines the prophecy about the death of the princesses. Yesenin had a premonition of tragedy.
Concert royal ladies liked.
Colonel Loman beamed, he even wrote a special petition to the “highest name” of Alexandra Feodorovna asking for a promotional gift to the poet. And even outlined a gift - a gold watch “Pavel Bure” with a chain and with the image of a two-headed eagle. Shortly after the evening in the register of Loman, Yesenin was no longer a medical orderly, but a writer.
And the clock was sent in the fall, but they did not get to Yesenin ... That was the last autumn of the empire. Loman received the watch and gave it to the poet, but Yesenin gave them to the colonel to save - for a while. And then - the February revolution. And during a search, the watch was found in Loman’s safe. Representatives of the new government wanted to return the watch to Yesenin - but it was difficult to find it. A recent orderly began a turbulent, wandering life. "It was not possible to return them for failure to locate Yesenin," said the memo. But all this was in another life - after the revolution. In the summer of 1916, Petrograd quickly learned of Yesenin's “fall”.
The freedom-loving poet sold himself, humbled himself before the empress, began to “entertain” the tyrant's family, as enemies and even Yesenin's recent friends interpreted the Tsarskoe Selo meeting.
The literary world, for the most part, aggressively treated any manifestation of respect for the monarch and his family. This was the well-established climate in the capitals during the war - at least since the middle of the 1915 year.
There was no limit to the outrage of the liberal public. Yesenin was even called the second by Rasputin - they saw him as a mumbled peasant under the empress.
In his autobiography, Yesenin could not keep silent about this event — all too well known. He wrote evasively: “At the request of Lohman, he once recited a poem to the Empress. She, after reading my poems, said that my poems are beautiful, but very sad, I told her that this is all of Russia. Referring to poverty, climate and so on. " Of the poems that Yesenin read on that day, the saddest thing is “Rus,” a small poem that speaks directly about the sufferings of the people, not only during the war years. Perhaps this is the best poem of Yesenin of that time - written at the very beginning of the war, it undoubtedly echoed the serious impressions of the sanitary train.
In the village to the high outskirts
The people accompanied them with indignation ...
Here, Russia, your good fellows,
All support in a time of adversity.
This is about the peasants who went to the soldiers.
Yesenin was already preparing to print a new collection - "Blue". And, according to some testimonies, he intended to dedicate it to the Empress. He understood that such a move would close the doors of publishing houses for him - but he was inclined to “union” with the royal family. However, after the February events of 1917, Yesenin did not recall this. At the same time, from the requests of Lohman to write poems to the glory of the monarch and the fighting army, both Yesenin and Klyuev dismissed them diplomatically.
On the later events in his autobiography, Yesenin narrates as follows: "The revolution found me at the front in one of the disciplinary battalions, where I pleased for refusing to write poetry in honor of the king." This is most likely an artistic fiction. Disciplinary punishments Yesenin received - for late after dismissal. But shortly before the abdication of Nicholas II, Loman intended to send him ... to Mogilyov, to the emperor - so that the poet saw the king in all the heroic glories of the campaign. But discipline in the army at that time loosened, and Yesenin managed to evade this trip. So, he became a witness of the February revolution in the immediate vicinity of its main characters - metropolitan politicians.
Under the Provisional Government, Yesenin was sent to the school of ensigns, but he really deserted and finally broke with the service: "He left the Kerensky army without permission and, living as a deserter, worked with the Social Revolutionaries not as a party, but as a poet ...". This thesis of autobiography is close to the truth, as well as the memorable lines of “Anna Snegina” about the first deserter in the country:
Freedom shot out frantically.
And in the rosy-stinking fire
Then kalifstvoval over the country
Kerensky on a white horse.
War "to the end", "to victory".
And the same tailsmen
Scoundrels and parasites
Drove to the front to die.
But still I did not take the sword ...
Under the roar and roar of mortars
I showed the other courage -
There was the first deserter in the country.
However, before this Yesenin slightly complicated the fate of his lyrical hero:
The war has wrecked my whole soul.
For someone else's interest
I shot my close body
And breasts on brother climbed.
I realized that I was a toy,
In the rear of the merchants yes know
And, saying goodbye firmly to the guns,
I decided only to fight in verse.
I threw my rifle,
I bought myself a linden, and here
With such a preparation
I met 17 year.
He hardly happened to shoot at that war. But the mood of the last two years of the war is captured here. Yesenin never dreamed of a war to a victorious end. What he saw post-war Russia?
Did you understand that a country weakened and deprived of an army would fall under the authority of the Germans and the Poles?
The political symbol of Yesenin’s faith in those days was a peasant revolution. Apparently - something like a Left-Socialist-Revolutionary strategy.
Yesenin often recalled war in many poems and poems. But these were brief excursions into the past. He was not interested in the heroic epic: he perceived military events after all with his rear eyes. But the war manifested itself in his fate, and in the fate of the people.
Military experience permeates many poems and poems about Russia, about Russia. Of course, the military theme was drowned out by other music: revolutions, civil war, devastation, NEP revelry ... And yet "Anna Snegina" begins with unfair memories of the Great War, in which the poet had the opportunity to participate. This is not forgotten.