You loved that damned book more than me
I defy you to look me in the eyes
and tell me another story
without blushing your lie on your indoor-pallid cheeks.
I suffered for you
and you let me.
And yet – I let you.
Let you wallow in Stalin’s favour,
allowed you to hide behind his protection of you,
you, the cloud-dweller.
I suffered for your art,
you great, lumbering, weak-willed genius you.
Some comfort, in my last, disappeared days
gave you all that you needed to write
the greatest novel of the 20th century.
I. Am. Lara.
Oh I am so very delighted that our guest-host Kim (welcome, welcome and thank you!) presented us with this wonderful prompt for tonight’s dVerse Poetics. She has invited us to write a poem about a person (real or imagined) from the viewpoint of their husband, wife or partner.
Having just listened to a fascinating interview with Anna Pasternak, who has written a book ‘Lara: The Untold Love Story’ about the inspiration for Lara in her great-uncle’s classic novel, Dr Zhivago, this is perfect timing for this prompt.
Boris Pasternak benefited from a bizarre protective order from Stalin (who described Pasternak as ‘the cloud-dweller’) and whilst the authorities couldn’t get at him for his anti-communist novel writing, they could get at his lover, Olga Ivinskaya. Boy, did she suffer for him, and goodness, did he let her! His great-niece said, quite frankly, that she believed that he loved the book more than his lover, but Olga accepted that because she in turn, believed in him so much.
Anyway, here’s my interpretation of that tragic situation – I suspect I’ll be buying the book when it comes out…
Please do head on over to dVerse for more writing and enjoy!
20 thoughts on “I am Lara – dVerse Poetics”
What a fabulous choice of character! I loved reading Doctor Zhivago, albeit a long time ago.Was that interview on Radio 4? Olga must have really loved him to suffer so much. But then there are so many women who suffered for their men – several books full of them, I should think. Was Leonard Woolf the only man who put a foot on that path?
Hi Kim, thank you! Yes, I was listening to the Woman’s Hour podcast from today. Jane Garvey also led a discussion about Pdero Almodovar, which was also really interesting. I too wonder if Leonard Woolf was the only man behind the scenes…
Woman’s Hour has to be the best programme on the radio – together with Phil Alexander on Planet Rock!
I’m just listening to the Woman’s Hour podcast now 🙂
What a complex layered story… the persecutions of Gulag and Stalin, layered with this love story which he benefited from… as I have never read Dr Zjivago I know I will read it with other eyes when I do…
I’m glad you enjoyed it, Bjorn, even without having read the novel. The film is wonderful too.
Gosh this is just incredible 😀 you certainly rocked the prompt, Freya ❤️
Lots of love,
I never knew that….I enjoyed the voice of suffering, passion and love for that writer. I was almost shouting at the end!
Thank you, Grace!
Incredible story here. So much suffering she did for him. And I too wonder if he truly deserved it. I was never fond of him. Lara, I always liked much better. Well done.
Me too 🙂 Thank you!
I saw the movie absolutely years ago but never read the book. Your poem will give a perspective when I do.
Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂
Incredible story……..I LOVED the movie Dr Zhivago and the voice of Lara here is so full of emotion, so forceful — the exact opposite of the lilting Lara’s Theme music from the movie. Really enjoyed this one!
Thank you so much, Lillian!
Another “lost” woman being given a voice. I’m glad you’ve let her speak. I love her dignity.
Thank you, Sarah.