Tyutchev, Russia, Reason & Faith

Fyodor Tyutchev (1803-1873) was a Russian poet.

I need him here for a poem which says that you can not understand Russia with reason : you can only believe in Russia.

It’s a structure for the mind, a way to deal with reality.

 

Here are a few attempts to translate the quatrain :

Russia cannot be understood with the mind alone,
No ordinary yardstick can span her greatness:
She stands alone, unique –
In Russia, one can only believe.

You can’t understand Russia with your brain,
You can’t measure it with the standard instruments:
She has a particular status –
In Russia you can only believe.

Russia is understood not by the mind,
Nor by a common rule.
She has a special stature of her own:
In Russia one can only believe.

Russia cannot be understood by the intellect,
nor can it be measured by the common measure;
it has its own particular form,
you can only have faith in Russia

Don’t try to get it with your mind,
Don’t try to fit in your dimension:
There is no Russia of your kind –
Here your belief is only mention.

Russia is a thing of which
the intellect cannot conceive.
Hers is no common yardstick.
You measure her uniquely:
in Russia you believe!

 

Where do we use this structure? In love maybe. In some decisions, or changes (“Do I want to have kids with this person?”). When something’s too big for your own experience.

It’s a bit oriental, right? Let go reason : embrace…

 

Thanks for reading!

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Joseba Eskubi

 

 

 

Умом Россию не понять,
Аршином общим не измерить:
У ней особенная стать –
В Россию можно только верить.

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