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It's weird how fragments of things stay with you, long after you've learned them. Reading a book on the horrors of the 1992-4 Yugoslavian war a line from a poem suddenly sprang into my head.

"Why are you like this, why are you like this?"

Once I'd managed to remember the previous or following line (still not sure, can't find which box the book's in, web's not helping) - "From Archangel she cried" - I remembered it was one of Yevgeny Yevtushenko's. Still no idea which poem, of course.

And checking Wikipedia he's apparently still alive, which makes me happy in a way that I find amusing. For some reason - probably because I read the book in high school, and I associate him with Soviet Russia, and most of the other Russian authors I read at the time have passed away and the Cold War all seems so long ago now - I thought he was dead.

And that reminds me further - somewhere in one of the boxes I haven't yet unpacked is a cassette with him reading Babi Yar, in Russian. Shostakovich's Babi Yar symphony is also on there. I need to find that again.

The image in a poem of blood on the ice.

And the unanswerable question: Why are you like this, why are you like this?

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