Monday, November 4, 2013

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918—2008) is a Russian writer, most famous for such novels as Cancer Ward (1968) and August 1914 (1971). He is also a poet and an historian. He spoke out boldly against the USSR's totalitarian government. In 1945 he was arrested and given an eight-year sentence in a detention camp for writing "anti-Soviet propaganda". During his imprisonment he abandoned belief in Marxism, and began gradually turning towards Christian faith.

In 1970 he received the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974, and deprived of his citizenship. In 1975 he and his family moved to Vermont, where he spoke more boldly about the importance of Christianity in his world view. He was able to return to Russia in 1992, after the Soviet Union dissolved.

The following poem was written in 1972, which was about the time he began to be very serious about faith in Christ.

How easy it is to live with You, O Lord.

How easy it is to live with You, O Lord.
How easy to believe in You.
When my spirit is overwhelmed within me,
When even the keenest see no further than the night,
And know not what to do tomorrow,
You bestow on me the certitude
That You exist and are mindful of me,
That all the paths of righteousness are not barred.
As I ascend in to the hill of earthly glory,
I turn back and gaze, astonished, on the road
That led me here beyond despair,
Where I too may reflect Your radiance upon mankind.
All that I may reflect, You shall accord me,
And appoint others where I shall fail.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His new poetry collection, Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. Lewis, is available from Wipf & Stock as is his earlier award-winning collection, Poiema.