(untitled)

Life — rereading mine
From cover to cover.
Forced into watchfulness
In this icy sludge.

From a hint, a silhouette
I recognize friends in the mist.
Really, nothing is secret
In a guileless land.

— Varlam Shalamov
(Trans. by S. N. Johnson-Roehr)

Varlam Shalamov was first arrested in 1929 and sentenced to three years of hard labor for making statements critical of Stalin. After his release, he worked as a journalist in Moscow. He was arrested again in 1937, accused of being a Trotskyist. He was sentenced originally to five years of hard labor in the Kolyma prison camp, but was given an additional ten years for making anti-Soviet statements. He was released in 1951 and allowed to return to the Moscow region only after Stalin’s death in 1953.

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