I recently came across this phrase, and it seemed very poetic when I translated it. Unfortunately, I cannot find the origin of it.

"Что тебя держит, спасая от ветра, я, к сожалению, понять не могу"

When I translate it, it gives me.

"What is holding you, saving you from the wind, I, unfortunately, cannot understand."

Now I am not even sure about the meaning of this phrase and if it is something that requires knowledge of Russian phrases. So firstly, I would be thankful if someone could help me in understanding the meaning of this phrase and if it originates from some Russian literature (or a derivation of it)

  • Could you provide some more context to this phrase? Right now it doesn't look like an idiom or a reference to me. Running a search on the Russian Corpus was also fuitless.
    – Igor G
    Apr 10, 2022 at 16:06
  • That's the worst part. This was the whole post. However, it was followed by this other post "все эти меры- рябь на воде" which puzzled me even more. I was also discussing this on Reddit, and some were suggesting that it may insinuate an emotional burden. More like (no attempt at style) "I don't/can't understand what it is that keeps you going", perhaps referring to misunderstood motivations in a relationship etc. Apr 10, 2022 at 20:10
  • Do you, perhaps, have an idea what that post was about? Was it about someone going to break a relationship? Was is about someone struggling to survive in a hostile environment (or relationship)? Was it even about a human and not, say, about a tree leaf or a candle flame? The thing is, your literal translation is quite precise, but its meaning could be far from literal. And the right interpretation craves for the context. The following post "all those measures have little effect" doesn't help much.
    – Igor G
    Apr 10, 2022 at 20:33
  • My guess was that it was directed at the war going on and that he may be suffering because of that (half Russian/half Ukrainian). However, he is also going through an emotional rollercoaster now. Does not hang out with friends and stays alone, and went through a breakup a while ago. Could this suggest depression or some sort of sad feeling about life in general not going as one hopes it goes? Apr 10, 2022 at 21:09
  • 1
    I'm sorry, but I still don't see any reliable interpretation. Literal translation is good, but its meaning is unclear. "Holds you" could mean a lot of things: "keeps you (somewhere)", "prevents you (from doing something)", "provides for you", "stops you", "subsists you", "supports you". And what is meant by "wind" is anyone's guess... Obviously, "wind" is a metaphor for something hostile, but what? It could be "wind of war" (hardships of war, or echoes of war), but then it could refer to any other hardship... Sorry again, I can't help you.
    – Igor G
    Apr 12, 2022 at 4:11

2 Answers 2


I am Russian native support :-). Seems the context is about leaves at the tree at autumn - and the author is "asking" the one alone leave which supposed to be already at the ground due to the Autumn strong wind, but due to some unclear reason still at the tree, as a "survivor" 🤣. And the Poet is asking "I can't understand what force makes you still be alive and attached to the tree - despite such hard wind ? what is saving you from this wind ?"

I hope it helps.

  • Who said this line was from a poem? Noone. Maybelline Lee said it 'seemed' very poetic when I translated it.' Maybelline means it was incomprehensible, like a poem. M admits the sentence is isolated from any poem or literature that she knows of. She asks help in finding out the source of this sentence. Let's not wax poetic over what is a plain phrase. If I'm going through a secure door at the airport and the security guard says to me: 'where do you think you're going?', do I reflect on his remark in a philosophical manner and think: 'And I thought to myself 'where AM I going?' May 24, 2022 at 2:16

The statement is a gentle, humorous and sarcastic prodding of another to hurry up and quit dawdling because they have to go out somewhere and be there at a certain time. 'What's keeping you, escaping from the wind?'. Immaterial whether there is actually a windy day. It's sarcastic in tone. The 'other' is acting as if it is too windy to go outside. Verb was probably reflexive: спасаться (with от) 1. to save 2. to escape

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