Tuesday, October 25, 2005

On speaking out

This showed up in a contribution to a library tech discussion list: Web4Lib. Why? Don't know. Worth passing along? I think so.

You're a brave man they tell me.
          I'm not.
Courage has never been my quality.
Only I thought it disproportionate
so to degrade myself as others did.
No foundations trembled. My voice
no more than laughed at pompous falsity;
I did no more than write, never denounced,
I left out nothing I had thought about,
defended who deserved it, put a brand
on the untalented, the ersatz writers
(doing what anyhow had to be done).
And now they press to tell me that I'm brave.
How sharply our children will be ashamed
taking at last their vengeance for these horrors
remembering how in so strange a time
common integrity could look like courage.

      -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko
      Translated by Robin Milner-Galland and Peter Levi.

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