Konstantin Simonov: WAIT FOR ME

Konstantin Simonov (1915 - 1979) composed his war poem Wait for me in 1941. It is addressed to the actress Valentina Serova, with whom he was having an affair at the time and with whom he was madly in love.
Yet, immediately after composing Wait for me, he composed another poem, You used to say to me "I love you!", in which he gives expression to his doubts about her. Yet, he kept on composing poems of love to her and eventually married her even though it was common knowledge that she was having affairs with other men. The marriage was not a happy one and ended with Simonov leaving Serova.
What I am wondering about is why, knowing deep down that she did not love him, as so clearly expressed in You used to say to me “I love you!” did he keep on deceiving himself about her feelings for him.
Both poems were addressed to Serova. You used to say to me “I love you!”  was composed shortly after Wait for me. The contrast is remarkable.

Wait for me, and I'll come back!
Wait with all you've got!
Wait, when dreary yellow rains
Tell you, you should not.
Wait when snow is falling fast,
Wait when summer's hot,
Wait when yesterdays are past,
Others are forgot.
Wait, when from that far-off place,
Letters don't arrive.
Wait, when those with whom you wait
Doubt if I'm alive.
Wait for me, and I'll come back!
Wait in patience yet
When they tell you off by heart
That you should forget.
Even when my dearest ones
Say that I am lost,
Even when my friends give up,
Sit and count the cost,
Drink a glass of bitter wine
To the fallen friend -
Wait! And do not drink with them!
Wait until the end!
Wait for me and I'll come back,
Dodging every fate!
"What a bit of luck!" they'll say,
Those that would not  wait.
They will never understand
How amidst the strife,
By your waiting for me, dear,
You had saved my life.
Only you and I will know
How you got me through.
Simply - you knew how to wait -
No one else but you.


You used to say to me "I love you!",
But that was through your teeth, at night,
The truth was "I put up with you".
- You almost said it in the light.
I could believe your lips in darkness,
The wicked magic of your bed,
But though the words you spoke were honest,
I did not credit what you said.
I knew you - you were not a liar;
You would have liked to be in love.
Only at night could you deceive me,
When body drives the soul above.
But sober morning found you different.
Your mind was now the guiding force;
And when I asked you if you loved me,
I think you once replied "Of course".
Then sudden war, the station platform,
Nowhere to kiss and hold you tight,
My seat in the suburban carriage
To take me far into the night;
An evening without hope of loving;
No warmth, no happiness, no bliss;
And like a helpless cry of anguish,
Upon my sleeve, a tasted kiss.
And so that I should know the difference
From those old drunken words at night,
You suddenly said to me "I love you!"
Your lips were almost calm and right!
That you could be as you were that evening,
Seemed, till that evening, past belief!
"I love you! Love you!" Night; the station;
Your little hands so cold with grief.
Then, a year later, in 1942, a rare moment of prescience:

Well may I curse in years to come
The features of your face.
My love is like a cataclysm,
Transcending time and space.

Poems translated by Mike Munford

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