A poem by Pimien Pancanka in Like Water, like Fire is simply titled * * *, and it was labeled "Iran, 1944" at the end.

It includes the following lines:

The cranes fly beyond Kazbek and El'brus,
Heart contracts with its yearning and need.
Soon she will greet them, my Belarus,
In the warm green of the meads.

So, Mount Kazbek is on the border of Georgia and Russia, and El'brus is in Russia. So, I assume that the cranes are flying north from Iran through Georgia; indeed, that path would eventually lead to Belarus.

I'm slightly confused about one point, though: how could the author have seen them do that? Again, Kazbek is in Georgia, which is separated from Iran by Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Similarly, Belarus is separated from Georgia by Ukraine as well as parts of Bulgaria and Russia.

That being said, why did the author referred to this particular point?

  • Because the poem was seemingly written when the poet was in Iran (in 1944), I'd guess that "El'brus" should be Alborz. But where are you getting Kazbek from? The text you've posted says "Uzbek", like in Uzbekistan, a country near to Iran.
    – Juhasz
    Apr 29, 2022 at 23:05
  • @Juhasz I fell victim to autocorrect apparently. I edited to fix it. Apr 30, 2022 at 0:30

1 Answer 1


In Russian tradition the Caucasian range is a last frontier. Everything beyond it is a romantic cloud. Don't pay attention to geography.

The two peaks mentioned in the poem in turn symbolize the Caucasus; Elbrus by virtue of being the highest summit (in entire Europe, higher than Montblan), and Kazbek being arguably the most spectacular one (and visible from Georgian Military Road, another romantic vista). One need to be a semi-pro alpinist to name other peaks.

Regarding cranes, consider it a poetic license. In reality Belarussian cranes migrate to Ethiopia over Black Sea and Israel. The cranes wintering in Iran come mostly from Siberia, and use a flyway east of Caspian Sea. Cranes crossing Caucasian range is a very uncommon seeing.

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