Discussion in 'Русский (Russian)' started by seitt, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. seitt Senior Member


    Again I refer to the same song:
    Лишь белые вербы, как белые сестры, глядят тебе вслед.

    Presumably верба and the commoner ива are exactly the same, aren't they? (I.e. ‘willow’.) I was just wondering why верба is used here – does it add something to the song that I've been missing?

    Best wishes, and many thanks,


    PS While on this line, please may I just check that it indeed means, “Only the white willow trees, which follow you with their eyes (gaze after you as you depart) like white sisters”?
  2. wdata

    wdata Member

    Hi, I believe there is a slight difference between plain willow and верба, in my dictionary it's "pussy willow" or "violet willow" Take a look here to see the difference http://img15.nnm.ru/d/b/0/7/5/f649566e39e6ba50f0370a354bf.jpg
    By the way, in Russia верба is a Easter tree
    I would better use "sisters in white" here, referring to a tree in white flowers.
  3. seitt Senior Member

    Many thanks, truly most helpful. As for pussy willow, I know it from my Iranian friends here. In Persian it's بیدمشک (bidmeshk) and is used to flavour نقل (noql), one of their many delicious varieties of sugar. May I ask if you use it for flavouring in Russia too?
  4. Maroseika Moderator

    No, it is not used in cookery here. But верба is very poetical word and Russians have very special feeling to this plant. It is one of the first trees coming out in spring, after long cold winter, and is associated with youth and freshness. Plus, as said, religious connotations, of course.
  5. seitt Senior Member

    Many thanks, it's lovely to really get the feel of the tree imagery here.
  6. marco_2 Senior Member

    It is interesting indeed. In Polish wierzba is a general term for a willow tree, whereas iwa is Salix caprea L. called ива козья or бредина in Russian.

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