The Prisoner – Alexander Pushkin

The Prisoner

I sit by the bars in my cell, in the damp
A lusty young eagle caged up in a cramp.
A suffering comrade down there waves his wing.
And flaps as he pecks at some blood-spattered thing.

He pecks it and drops it, and looks up at me
As if our ideas were in deep sympathy.
His beckoning call and his eyes seem to say
What he wants from me: ‘come on let’s fly away!

We brothers, free birds of the air, let us go!
Where mountains stand white, with the storm clouds below,
Where rolling blue oceans run off to the sky,
Where I can fly free with the wind - he and I!’

Alexander Pushkin (1799 – 1837)
translated by A. D. P. Briggs

Ostensibly a poem about a caged eagle. Representative of Russian oppression and the cruel treatment of Russians in the Stalin era. Seeking flight from such conditions and the beauty of nature outside the cage.

Pushkin is considered by many to be the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. 

Alexander Pushkin on Wikipedia – Alexander Pushkin – Wikipedia