The genre called Russian folklore


"Those who welcome death have only tried it from the ears up."
It has been explained to me that Russian folklore, songs and poetry is the saddest in the world. The most common theme is apparently how a stoic hero, after having endured tremendous hardships, cold winters without comparison and darkened forests without ends, still manages to fight his way back home, only to die in despair within a stone's throw from his old rustic village. Now if you are the kind of person that takes off screaming for benzodiazepines by unhappy endings like that you better stop reading right here, because to me the whole setup sounded like a fun write!

The genre might come - from Siberian moms
And I hear it is called Russian folklore
The thing is it's sad - and it always ends bad
After hardships are death always called for

Mostly set in the yore - where they lived on stomped floors
As did Ivan the herald in this story
This postal man knew - that his mail must come through
Nonetheless if the weather was roaring

His route was the pride - of Baikal's northern side
It went back, forth and home every season
He felt never wayworn - as he travelled forlorn
Never once called in sick, that be treason

He packed up his sack - and some dried beetroot snacks
As he left for the route that he had planned
And later that night - in the ol' pale moon light
He could hear the first wolf in the woodlands

The storm had him tired - but that was required
And he thought there's no way he'd be failing
So with his face blue - he did struggle on through
With his plight to deliver the mailings

Then snow came down hard - but as thoroughly scarred
He stood up as the ice flakes came slashing
When afternoon came - he was still up for game
But his horse now required some lashing

Their fate turned unfair - they encountered a bear
Limping forward as it been surmounted
With cold heart and skin - and the mare wearing thin
They both fell as Ivan tried to mount her

The horse it gave in - and became a has been
Ivan's whole trip and life was in peril
And later that week - so his legend bespeaks
Came the end of old Ivan the herald

As everyone know - the Siberian snow
And its winds have caused mammoths to quit it
He crawled all the way - and it's thought to this day
With just fifteen less letters he'd made it

With stamps higher prized - or some letters revised
He might have made safe from the slaughter
But all that remained - after wolfs made him game
In a shoe was a note to his daughter

The wolf pack it howled - and old Ivan was fouled
Within view of his house in the morning
Of Ivan it's said - he killed seven wolfs dead
But most legends are known for adorning

He fought tooth and nail - and he died for his mail
Coming through as a postal defender
And though postmen now plough - as the winter winds blow
Still that man from Siberia's remembered

In a forgotten grave - somewhere Ivan was laid
It got stamped by his wife, now ethereal
His death was ill-timed - she in week twenty-nine
She starved dead without Ivan the herald

This genre might come - from Siberian moms
Now you know how it goes, Russian folklore
It's always this sad - and it always ends bad
And in tune even this song's now done for

© Peter Andersson 2007