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Galina Balabanova

free verses

An unmarried uncle took to the war
A photo of me when I was 2.
In 1945 a "killed in battle" notice was sent back
With my shot through photo.

If there always was
The green light on the road
We wouldn’t understand
The deepest heart of life.

A snowflake
Looses its individuality
Falling into
A dirty pool.

Someone buries
And someone
Counts the wreaths.

Before dawn.
Poets guard the sleep
Of not-poets.


I do not breathe,

I'm scared to breath out

Even one drop of the celebration

That has happened to us.

Sasha about Galina Balabanova
My grandmother, Galina Sergeevna, was born in Tjumen, in Siberia. All her childhood she lived in the suburbs of the city with her mother and her 2 brothers in a small room in the barracks with no necessary conveniences, where, as Vysotsky sang, was "one bathroom for 38 rooms”. The life in such barracks can be described with such words as hard drinking, poverty, exhausting low-paid work.
Already in the second grade my grandmother understood that she doesn’t want to spend her life like that. But there was no opportunity to study well. There was no place to do the home assignments, she had to walk to school two hours on the crossties, and then at home sit with her little brothers. But already then Galya liked books, wrote poems, was fond of drawing, playing the draughts, designing and making clothes.
After school she entered the Medical College. She bought books after getting every grant. After finishing the college she asked them to send her to the north. That’s how she imagined romance. More than a year Galina worked as a medical assistant in a small settlement on the coast of Kara Sea where people didn’t speak Russian well. She had to go back home sooner than she planned as she received unexpected news that her mother had an industrial accident and was disabled.
In Tjumen my grandmother began to work in the hospital. When she had free time she attended a literary club where young poets met, went to the City park and played the draughts. She published some of her poems in local newspapers and began to play draughts in the city matches. She played very well and was taken to the team. With her team she traveled all over USSR, became the champion of the Tjumen Region, was one of the best women who played drafts in Russia.
In 1963 Galina got married to the member of the team Anatoliy and bore a daughter, Irina. When her daughter was 10 she got divorced. She did everything to bring up her daughter well. She sent her to the school with advanced study of English, subscribed to educational magazines, bought books, took her to the theater and to concerts of classical music. When her daughter grew up and went to Leningrad to study and got married there, Galina went to live in St. Petersburg to help her bring up granddaughters. She went on writing poems and reading them in libraries and clubs. She began to write songs. Interior design became one of her hobbies; she turned her flat into a "museum of design”.
Getting the pension she moved to Kirov to her daughter. In Kirov she published 3 books of her poems, began to attend guitar classes. When 67 she began to learn to play the piano.
Now she is 69 and lives in a beautiful flat which she designed so nicely that people come there just to see it. She also knits, makes different handicrafts. She is always busy at something, she doesn’t know what boredom is.
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