Why tne poem of Korotko “The Rock-climber” we are publishing exactly today?
8 August 2021

On August 8, the world celebrates the International Day of Mountaineer. On August 8, 1786, two Swiss daredevils – physician Michel-Gabriel Packard and mountain guide Jacques Balma were the first of all climbers to reach the highest point of the Alps – Mont Blanc, whose height is 4810 meters above the sea level. In honor of their ascent August 8 is declared as the World Mountaineer Day.

Mountaineers, rock-climbers – incredibly strong in spirit, fanatically devoted to the height, “sharpened” for the conquest of mountain peaks, people. Alexander Korotko himself made the ascent, and he knows very well what an incredible work in terms of physical costs and emotions.

A few know about Korotko’s participation in the fate of Yuriy Lishayev, known throughout the climbing world (with the unexpected nickname “Fantik”). Here are some scanty lines from Wikipedia: “… Soviet, Ukrainian, Russian mountaineer, rock-climber, speleologist, kayaker. Repeated champion and medalist of the USSR and Ukraine in rock-climbing – master of sports of the USSR… Lishayev made almost half of his ascents without insurance. One of the pioneers of solo climbing in the USSR.”

Unfortunately, back in 1993, Yuriy received a severe spinal injury when falling in a paragliding flight during the filming of a movie for the Film Travel Club. Slexander Korotko organized the difficult transportation of Yuriy and sending him for treatment. According to the doctors’ forecast, the climber was expected to travel in a wheelchair for lifetime. Yuriy Lishayev, an invalid of group 1 st, not only got up, but returned to the mountains, the first ascent after an injury he made alone on the Uarch-Kaya rock in the Crimean mountains.

Of course, Alexander considers his participation in saving the life of Fantik a natural and normal human act for himself and does not advertise in any way. However, in his work, this extraordinary case found a response years later.

All that has been said is the background to the creation of one of the most poignant philosophical poem of Alexander Korotko:




Having adapted you fell

against the wall once more. Everything depends

on the first movement of hands,

on the spasm of grasping fingers.

You will climb on the touch

happing  the pulsing

blood of veins stuck in the temples,

along the solid memory of the rock. Blind

awakening of instinct and fear

to live like everyone else in the horizontal

emptiness of times leads upward,

only the cold gives goose bumps

on the oval of your back, there is no one around,

otherwise you would become proud and

disappear before the full count of years.

Facing the rock what do you see?

The vastness stretching out

along the sea? Why such a rush

to die when just one breath

serves as insurance?

You are doomed to hang on the rock,

on the memory of minutes resurrected

over the loneliness. What a happiness,

there is no choice, no slope,

just a desire to spread the arms

like wings and fly!

Where to? To the hard bed of the rock,

and to fall asleep dead because of fatigue there.


Translated by Nataliya Ogienko