Poems and Songs of Vladimir Vysotsky. The Nature Reserve.

Commentary to the poem “The obstacles we have are begotten by our age...”

The meaning of this poem is obvious: the dogs symbolize the savages coming to Rossia from Transcaucasia and Central Asia, and also their offspring, who behave exactly like dogs. These savages pose a great danger to the peoples inhabiting Rossia, and since we have not yet forced the government to pay attention to it, the only way out of this situation is to form a people’s volunteer corps of those willing to become “dog-catchers”.

In Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book”, these are the Bandar-log, and here is their road-song:

Here we go in a flung festoon,
Half-way up to the jealous moon!
Don’t you envy our pranceful bands?
Don’t you wish you had extra hands?
Wouldn’t you like if your tails were — so —
Curved in the shape of a Cupid’s bow?

Now you’re angry, but — never mind,
Brother, thy tail hangs down behind!

Here we sit in a branchy row,
Thinking of beautiful things we know;
Dreaming of deeds that we mean to do,
All complete, in a minute or two —
Something noble and grand and good,
Won by merely wishing we could.

Now we’re going to — never mind,
Brother, thy tail hangs down behind!

All the talk we ever have heard
Uttered by bat or beast or bird —
Hide or fin or scale or feather —
Jabber it quickly and all together!
Excellent! Wonderful! Once again!
Now we are talking just like men.

Let’s pretend we are... never mind,
Brother, thy tail hangs down behind!
This is the way of the Monkey-kind.

Then join our leaping lines that scumfish through the pines,
That rocket by where, light and high, the wild-grape swings,
By the rubbish in our wake, and the noble noise we make,
Be sure, be sure, we’re going to do some splendid things!

And the red dogs in this book symbolize as the “democrats” as these savages.

The poem was written in 1972.

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