During the war, his grandmother was part of what they used to call a concert brigade. Once she sang at a programme that included the legendary Oistrakh. Bombs were falling through the sky, the city in ruins; and yet people came to listen, those who were not yet dead, those who refused to be done in by their daily ration of half a roll of dry brown bread, one cube of sugar, a hundred grams of vodka for courage. Snow fell, or freezing rain; and who anymore had good clothes? But they curled up like leaves in the shabby remnants of theatres, clutching their threadbare coats to their sides. They pressed their fingers to their cheeks as if they could inflate them with breath, as if the cadenzas might lead to a birth chamber— They would tumble like newborns into a world flooded with light: no echoes of guns, only a clearing in a birch forest filling with the cries of resurrected birds.
In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.