Prokofiev's Prayer

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Let me see faces

Let me hear music

Let there be flowers

Let me leave with dignity

Don't let there be silence

Don't let my loved ones suffer

Don't let me pass away unnoticed

Don't let me die a genius in your shadow


The Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev and Russian leader Joseph Stalin, died within hours of each other on 5th March 1953. Prokofiev's life and career had been blighted by Stalin. And because Stalin's funeral was almost unbelievably grand, it is said that there were no flowers left in Moscow, or musicians to play at Prokofiev's funeral, attended by relatively few people. Sadly, even in death, Prokofiev remained a victim of Stalin.

◄ if only......

The Innocents ►


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Paul Waring

Mon 16th Jan 2017 15:05

Hi elP, thanks for reading this and posting a very interesting comment, including the quote which really highlights the pressures that musicians like Prokofiev (and artists, writers, etc) must have had to endure from Stalin's regime. Many thanks again for this. Paul

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Mon 16th Jan 2017 14:40

I read this yesterday while in the midst of an article about Rosa Luxemburg. It seemed particularly timely to me for that reason. Anyhow, I came upon this concerning Prokofiev...

'Prokofiev also attended the Bolshoi Theatre's "audition" of his ballet Le pas d'acier, and was interrogated by members of the Russian Association of Proletarian Musicians (RAPM) about the work: he was asked whether the factory portrayed "a capitalist factory, where the worker is a slave, or a Soviet factory, where the worker is the master?..."Prokofiev replied, "That concerns politics, not music, and therefore I won't answer."'

...a great reply that frames quite aptly the assault on artists and their work that was to continue into the coming decades throughout two infamous dictatorships and the entirety of two continents.

A very tender plea, Paul.


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Paul Waring

Mon 16th Jan 2017 14:07

Col, thanks for this feedback, I see your point entirely. I think for me, still at the early stage of writing poems, I am probably too concerned about whether the reader understands what I've written. I thought a lot about the explanation issue, including how much or how little. I suppose I didn't have the courage to post it without, thinking that it might just come across as a touching prayer but without context.

Anyway, I'm glad you liked it and enjoyed something of a history lesson. Please feel free to keep giving me this type of feedback, I find it helpful. Cheers, Paul

<Deleted User> (13762)

Mon 16th Jan 2017 09:38

interesting one this Paul because without the explanation which is longer than the poem would the poem stand alone? And should poems be given explanations?

I do like the poem very much and wonder how it would appear stripped back with the picture, explanation and the word Prokofiev in the title removed?

aside from this I did enjoy the history lesson - my knowledge of composers and classical music is next to zero but coupled with Stalin makes for an interesting delve into the past lives of these two figures.


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Paul Waring

Mon 16th Jan 2017 08:34

Thank you Tristan, M.C., Jeff, Martin and Rafael for reading this piece and for making comments. I really appreciate what you've written.

When I was reading an article about Prokofiev, it described him as a genius in Stalin's shadow. That just got me thinking about the sadness of it all. Pleased that you described this as educational Jeff - I learn so much on here too!

Thanks again everyone. You are right, the best thing is that the legacy of Prokofiev's music lives on.

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Mon 16th Jan 2017 00:40

Great job Paul, always a fan of recognition to the great artists who came before us!

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Martin Elder

Sun 15th Jan 2017 23:15

I don't think he will ever be forgotten, rightly so all the time there are people to love his music and keep the candle alight. Nice one Paul.

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Sun 15th Jan 2017 19:19

Paul, your work is not just a pleasure to read, it's educational too.....!...... Jeff....

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M.C. Newberry

Sun 15th Jan 2017 17:42

But at least history remembers the composer for the right
reasons. Better his degree of immortality than that
granted to a murderous tyrant who, if religious teaching
has any worth, should be languishing in eternal hell.

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Tristan Ayran

Sun 15th Jan 2017 17:07

Powerful, historical, moving.

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