Waiting for you, comrade bird

“The kinglet eats 1,000,000 worms a year” / “The titmouse 6,500,000 worms”

This picture should be actually not published today, but in May, when the lark sings and the nightingale replies, and the pioneers turn out to the fields in flower to celebrate the Bird Day. Yet its place is here after the previous post.

The celebration of the Bird Day began in the United States in 1894, in order to make students aware of the usefulness of the birds and the importance of protecting them. The celebration quickly spread around the world. The European countries signed an agreement in Paris in 1902 on the protection of useful birds, and within a couple of years most of them introduced by law the Bird Day in the curricula.

In Russia the Bird Day was organized again after the pre-war beginnings in 1927 by the great biologist and nature conservationist Nikolai Dergunov, suitably on the Sparrow Hill in Moscow, where he set up nesting places for the birds. The event was also attended by Mayakovsky, whose dacha was nearby. On this occasion he composed the poem Waiting for you, comrade bird, which has since become the compulsory repertoire piece of the Bird Day until the late 1970s, when the celebration silently died out of the Soviet curriculum.

Removal of some not useful birds from the Kremlin, 1935


Несется клич
      со всех концов,
несется клич
      во все концы:
– Весна пришла!
      Даешь скворцов.
Добро пожаловать, скворцы! –

В самом лучшем месте
самой лучшей рощи
на ветке
готова жилплощадь.
И маленькая птица
с большим аппетитцем.

      для кормежки
и зерна
      и мошки.
Из-за моря,
      из-за леса
не летят
      сами лезут
на березины бока.

      с трубою на носу
      аж на самый сук.
– Вспорхнуть бы
      и навстречу
с приветственною речью. –
Одна заминка:
без крылышек спинка.

Грохочет гром
      от труб ребят,
от барабана шалого.
– Скворцы,
      добро пожаловать! –

Бьют барабаны бешеней.
      погоды вешней
заждались за лесами, –
и в жданьи безутешном
      по скворешням
расположились сами.

            под сень листов,
сказать придется:
            – Нет местов! –

      чтоб этот клич
над прочими кличами:
– Товарищ,
      пионерских дел
не забывай
      за птичьими.

A cry is flying
      from every side,
a cry is flying
      to everywhere:
– Spring has come!
      With starlings!
Welcome, starlings! –

On the best place
of the best tree
all along
      the branches
the flat is ready.
Little birds
with great appetite.

They are ready
      to devour
seeds and
From over the
      sea and forest
the starlings
      won’t fly
the pioneers
      don’t climb to
the peak of the birch.

One of them,
      with a pipe on the nose
has sat down
      at the end of the branch.
– I would fly off
      to encounter them
with a welcoming speech. –
There’s just one hitch:
its hard to fly without wings.

Thunder rumbles
      from children’s pipes,
from crazy drums.
– Starlings,
      welcome, starlings! –

Beating the drums in race.
The starlings who
      over the forest
waited for winter to pass –
now cannot have a rest:
the children
      themselves covered
the branches of the trees.

      the starling
            under the leaves,
and it returns:
            – Every place is full! –

I want
      this cry
            to outvoice
every other cry:
– Comrade,
      let the birds
not make you forget
      that you’re a pioneer.

Selecting a location for the statue of Mayakovsky, 1956

But to have also something current for today, here I include the archive photos of some further parades from the period. And those who want to know how they celebrated this day exactly 75 years ago, should check back to our respective report.

1 comentario:

MOCKBA dijo...

Interesting, I've attended a number of grade schools and ecology student circles in Russia before the 1970's, but never heard of the Bird Day celebrations, and never seen this silly propaganda verse either. Of course we never missed a chance to celebrate April's Fool Day on the same date, but AFAICT the International Bird Day is something very pos-Soviet and peculiarly Russian despite its name ... I venture to guess that it may be an invention of some humor-deprived educators who can't stand being the butt of April Foll's jokes.

As to Mayakovsky ... the lunacy of his later-period activist verse nonwithstanding, he is a great poet, and his love poems and cityscapes are unsurpassed IMVHO. Just listen to him reading "And could you?" for example at