Conversation with an American Writer : Yevtushenko

Conversation with an American Writer

"You're a fearless young man---" they tell me...
It's not true.
I've never been fearless.
I've considered it unworthy, simply,
to sink to my colleagues' cowardice.

I didn't shake any sort of foundations.
Laughed at the false and pompous, 
that's all.
Wrote--that's all.
Never wrote denunciations.
And tried to say
just what I thought.

talented people I defended,
branded the incapable, 
into literature crawling,
but did this because, in general, one has to,
and now about my fearlessness they're talking.

Oh, with feelings of bitter shame
our descendants, 
debunking worthlessness,
will remember 
those times 
so strange
when simple honesty
was called fearlessness.

~ Yevgeny Yevtushenko (New York, 1960)
Translated by Herbert Marshall
From : Yevtushenko Poems, Bilingual Edition

image source : The Paris Review