Sergei Yesenin, the son of Russian peasants, was born in Kronstantinovo on 21st September, 1895. When he was seventeen he moved to Moscow as a young man and worked as a proof-reader.
Yesenin began writing poetry and was a great admirer of Alexander Blok. Yesenin’s first volume of poetry, Ritual for the Dead, was published in 1916.
He supported the October Revolution as he believed it would provide a better life for the peasantry. This was reflected in his volume of poems, Otherland (1918). He soon became disillusioned and began to criticize the Bolshevik government and wrote poems such as The Stern October Has Deceived Me.
In 1922 Yesenin married the dancer Isadora Duncan and accompanied her on a tour of Europe. Often drunk, his smashing up of hotel rooms, received a great deal of publicity in the world’s press.
Yesenin returned to his homeland in 1923 and published Tavern Moscow (1924), Confessions of a Hooligan (1924), Desolate and Pale Moonlight (1925) and The Black Man (1925).
Sergei Yesenin suffered a mental breakdown and was hospitalized. Yesenin was released and on 27th December, 1925, he cut his wrists, wrote a farewell poem in his own blood (goodbye, my friend, goodbye), and then hanged himself. Although one of Russia’s most popular poets, much of his work was banned during the rule of Joseph Stalin. His complete works were republished in 1966.
The farewell poem:
Goodbye, my friend, goodbye
My love, you are in my heart.
It was preordained we should part
And be reunited by and by.
Goodbye: no handshake to endure.
Let’s have no sadness — furrowed brow.
There’s nothing new in dying now
Though living is no newer.