The poem “Outside Yet Another Window” was written at the beginning of 1984 when I worked for the BBC Monitoring Service in Reading as a Russian monitor listening in to Soviet radio broadcasts. I’d left the Soviet Union in 1971 at the age of twenty one; my monitoring work brought back many memories, images and words from my childhood and youth, with the immediacy of all my senses, alert, bared, vulnerable.
Born in Estonia, brought up in Latvia and educated in Moscow, in all of which snow and ice lasted up to five or even six months a year and winter sports were popular, I missed those winters painfully in England where the Gulfstream set most of the tone.
As for skating as a symbol of creative effort, rather similar to birch-bending for Robert Frost, Mandelstam in his poem “On the Death of Andrei Bely” used this image to a great effect. In this sense I see my poem as belonging to the same poetic tradition.