I'm Bored With All This!

A Story About How Yesenin Got Fed Up With the Beard

Posted by Alexey Tkachenko on October 2, 2018

In June 1925 Russian poet Sergey Yesenin moved to the apartment of his new wife, Sofia Andreevna Tolstaya – granddaughter of Leo Tolstoy. She was 25, her face resembled Tolstoy very much and she lived together with her mother in an apartment on Pomeranzev Street in Moscow.

Sergey Yesenin and Sofia Tolstaya.

The same year, a friend of Yesenin, writer Yuri Libedinsky, came by and asked Sergey how he had been doing. The answer was puzzling.

– Boring. I’m fed up with the beard…

– What beard?

– What d’you mean ‘what beard’? Here, one – Yesenin pointed at the huge portrait of Tolstoy – Here, another one – there was a group photograph of the whole Tolstoy family – Here, the third one – he pointed at the copy from the famous portrait by Repin – There, another one with the bicycle. And there… how many are there? – Yesenin led Yuri to the wall where several Tolstoy’s photos were placed carefully under a glass – A dozen, not less! I’m bored with all this, end of story! – Yesenin said with some fury audible in his voice.

Leo Tolstoy – the iconic bearded image.

This time, Yuri Libedinsky left this place with an unnerving premonition. The same year Sergey Yesenin left Sofia Tolstaya and moved to Leningrad where he was found dead later in his hotel room…

From the book: Life of Yesenin (Moscow, 1988, in Russian).