Himself Commentary

Mayakovsky said that the poem An Extraordinary Adventure… is «Kind of a joke. Its basic thought is 'shine on no matter how miserable reality may be!» Indeed, although the poem starts out with Mayakovsky being very frustrated with the routine of life, the overall mood of this work is quite lighthearted. The poem plays out almost cinematically: Mayakovsky one day grows frustrated with his life, and scolds the sun for bringing about these days. In a slip of the tongue, he invites the sun to tea. Though initially frightened, the two become great friends and agree to always shine on. This «misery» that Mayakovsky speaks of is the Russian civil war, not just for the senseless deaths of the time period, but for how much he hated the Provisional Government and all that was associated with, and he airs his frustration with ROSTA in particular, evident when he says he «winter and summer/ I must sit and draw these posters!» The commentary on ROSTA is interesting because Mayakovsky seemed quite proud of the work he did from them, especially when he apparently heard the red army singing one of his jingles as they marched to the winter palace. Perhaps again though, Mayakovsky is trying to prove how hard the poet works, and how he slaves away every day. Mayakovsky ultimately becomes a savior again, agreeing with the sun to «shine» with his verse as much as he can in the «tattered world», one much like the city described in «I».


Like About My Wife, An Extraordinary Adventure… is an interesting change of style for Mayakovsky. Again there is much more of a sense of scenery, especially because he gives the exact address of his dacha. This is also aided by the detailed description of the hills and town around him, and the imagery of the sun walking to Mayakovsky's dacha and the transfer from night to day. The effect is cinematic, and perhaps makes the poem more easier to understand than most of his other works, and could be one of the reasons why it was one of his most popular poems.

In contrast to the unusually buoyant An Extraordinary Adventure…, To His Beloved Self is perhaps one of Mayakovsky's saddest poems, another confession of how alone he feels in the world. Like in I, this world is impossible for Mayakovsky: there is nobody great enough to love him, and nothing great enough to contain him. Again, there is no relief for him, and he wishes life for him could be as inconceivable as poverty to a millionaire, or the lack of eloquence to Dante. Similarly in A Few Words About Myself, he is forced to carry the burden of his own excess, though here he is no longer a martyr. There is a sense of both the tragic and the pathetic here, because nowhere does he speak about his belief in his own greatness in order to reassure himself that there is something to make his situation better. Sadly, this poem seems to embody everything Mayakovsky was. He could not contain his love for Lili Brik, and it was too much for her or any of his other lovers to hold. He desperately wanted to be understood and accepted by his colleagues, yet he ended up isolated from them in the end.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License