Power Of The Unarmed Truth: Boris Leonidovich Pasternak (Russian: Бори́с Леони́дович Пастерна́к) born 1890 Feb. 10th

Boris Leonidovich Pasternak (Russian: Бори́с Леони́дович Пастерна́к,; 10 February [O.S. 29 January] 1890 – 30 May 1960), the famed Russian novelist and poet was the son of gifted artists: his father a painter and illustrator of Tolstoy’s works, his mother a well-known concert pianist. Pasternak’s education began in a German Gymnasium in Moscow and went on to the University of Moscow. Pasternak took up the study of musical composition for six years from 1904 to 1910. By 1912 he had abandoned music as his profession in life and departed to the University of Marburg, Germany, to learn about philosophy. After four months there and a trip to Italy, he came back to Russia and decided to commit himself to literature.

Composed in 1917, Pasternak’s first book of poems, My Sister, Life, was published in Berlin in 1922 and soon became an important collection in the Russian language. Pasternak’s translations of stage plays by Goethe, Schiller, Calderón de la Barca and Shakespeare remain very popular with Russian audiences.

Pasternak is best known as the author of Doctor Zhivago (1957), a novel that takes place between the Russian Revolution of 1905 and the Second World War. Doctor Zhivago was forbidden for publication in the USSR and the manuscript had to be secretly trafficked to Italy for publication. Pasternak was bestowed with the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958, an occasion that infuriated the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.  He was required to decline the prize, though his descendants were able to accept it in his name in 1988. Doctor Zhivago has been part of the Russian school curriculum since 2003.

“Your health is bound to be affected if, day after day, you say the opposite of what you feel.”

“Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.”

“Literature is the art of discovering something extraordinary about ordinary people, and saying with ordinary words something extraordinary

“Even so, one step from my grave, I believe that cruelty, spite, The powers of darkness will in time Be crushed by the spirit of light.”

“An unshared happiness is not happiness.”

“And remember: you must never, under any circumstances, despair. To hope and to act, these are our duties in misfortune.”

“What for centuries raised man above the beast is not the cudgel but the irresistible power of unarmed truth.”

“No bad man can be a good poet”.

“As for the men in power, they are so anxious to establish the myth of infallibility that they do their utmost to ignore truth.”

Janus and Her Doorways of January

January is “the month of Janus” the Roman god who presided over doors and gates. It looks like Gavin and Wyatt and waiting for somebody (and it does not have to be a “god”) to open the stage door. Of course, dogs are often on the wrong side of a door which is closed to them. It has been said “the world is a stage…” which does not mean much when the stage door is closed.

It has been said…“A very little key will open a very heavy door.”
― Charles Dickens

Americana Hero, Carl Sandburg born1878 January 6th

An American writer, who won three Pulitzer Prizes for his poetry and writing, Carl Sandburg was born on this date in 1878.  Sandburg who also played folk music guitar while he sang and read poetry inspires an Americana music show and you are invited to sing along on Crosscurrents, 1/06 at 8 am.

Carl Sandburg was an American writer and editor, best known for his poetry. He won three Pulitzer Prizes, two for his poetry and another for a biography of Abraham Lincoln. H. L. Mencken called Carl Sandburg “indubitably an American in every pulse-beat.”

Carl August Sandburg was born January 6, 1878, in a three-room cottage in Galesburg, Illinois, to August and Clara Sandburg, immigrants from Sweden who met and married in the United States. One of seven children, he left school at the age of 13 to work and help support his family. He offered his time for military service in the Spanish-American War. Following the conflict, he qualified as a veteran for college admission even though he lacked a high school diploma. At Lombard College in Galesburg, Sandburg began to write poetry and prose, and his first booklets were published by his favorite professor, Philip Green Wright.

Sandburg left college without graduating and worked as a traveling salesman before becoming an organizer and orator for the Social Democratic Party of Wisconsin in 1907.  Encouraged by his wife, Sandburg kept writing poetry, most of it free verse. Sandburg was a popular platform performer, playing the guitar and singing American folk music, and reading his poetry and prose.


If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.

Love your neighbor as yourself but don’t take down your fence.

Nothing happens unless first we dream.

There is an eagle in me that wants to soar, and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud.

Be careful with your words, once they are said, they can only be forgiven, not forgotten.

Now is the time. It is never too late to start something.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease but the quacking duck gets shot.

Life is like an onion. You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.

In democracy both a deep reverence and a sense of the comic are requisite.

Beware of advice-even this.

What if they gave a war and nobody came?

After the sunset on the prairie, there are only the stars.

Revolt and terror pay a price. Order and law have a cost.

The moon is a friend for the lonesome to talk to.

I’m either going to be a writer or a bum.

I’ve written some poetry I don’t understand myself.