No, I'm not afraid: after a year
Of breathing these prison nights
I will survive into the sadness
To name which is escape.
The cockerel will weep freedom for me
And here - knee-deep in more -
My gardens shed their water
And the northern air blows in draughts.
And how am I to carry to an alien planet
What are almost tears, as though towards home ...
It isn't true, I am afraid, my darling!
But make it look as though you haven't noticed.
On March 4th 1983, her 29th birthday, Irina was sentenced to seven years in the Soviet
'strict regime' labour camp at Barashevo where she was frequently beaten, starved, frozen, force-fed and kept in solitary confinement. Her crime was the 'manufacture and dissemination' of her poetry, coupled with 'anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda'. She was released from prison on October 9th 1986, and on December 18th 1986 she was allowed to leave the Soviet Union for Britain, accompanied by her husband, the human rights activist Igor Gerashchenko.