"Wait for me.."
"Wait for me" is one of the best-known of all Russian poems. It was written by Konstantin Simonov in 1941, soon after Hitler's invasion of Russia. In the summer of 1941, Simonov was 25 and (despite his aristocratic origins) already an increasingly successful Soviet poet and playwright. He was passionately in love with the young actress Valentina Serova. When Hitler struck, Simonov received immediate orders to proceed to the front as a war correspondent. Valentina saw him off at the station...
The troop train took him westward - towards, as he thought, the frontier. But by that time the German blitzkrieg had actually penetrated far into Russia and the train never reached its destination. Within hours, Simonov was exposed to the brutal and chaotic realities of war: Valentina must have seemed a very long way away. So perhaps he can be excused a little self-deception about the girl he had left behind him. If he deceived himself about Valentina, he did not deceive himself about his own (and Russia's) powers of survival.
A little earlier - probably on the train, before things went wrong - he had also written the next poem, which tells us something nearer to the truth about his relationship with Valentina.
His subsequent poems will continue the story of a young man simultaneously exposed to all the dangers of war, of a passionate and finally unhappy love-affair - and of sudden and dramatic national celebrity.