Friday, August 26, 2011

Collage 507

Trish Crapo
from page 269-270, volume 2 of original text
collage, graphite, ink
made 5/27/11
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 818

Section XXXIX of Volume III opens with an odd calm that adds to the horror of Tolstoy's description of fields in the aftermath of battle:

"Several tens of thousands of men lay dead in various positions and uniforms in the fields and meadows that belonged to the Davydov family and to crown peasants, on fields and meadows where for hundreds of years peasants of the villages of Borodino, Gorki, Shevardino, and Semyonovskoe had at the same time gathered crops and pastured cattle. At the dressing stations, the grass and soil were soaked with blood over the space of three acres.

"...Small clouds gathered and rain began to sprinkle on the dead, the wounded, the frightened, and on the exhuasted, and on the doubtful men. It was as if it were saying: 'Enough, enough, men. Stop now ...Come to your senses. What are you doing?'

"Exhausted men on both sides, without food and rest, began alike to doubt whether they had to go on exterminating each other, hesitation was seen on all faces, and in every soul alike the question arose: 'Why, for whom, should I kill and be killed?'"

Perhaps every soldier has asked him or herself this question. I hope so. It seems to me to be a question that leads toward peace.


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