Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sophia Parnok - I'm neither flesh

* * *
I’m neither flesh, nor spirit yet
And daily bread seems hardly needed,
As if my punctured finger bled
Not blood, but sky drops faintly sleeted.

And there are times when pouring wine
Up to the brim feels hardly ample,
When bread all drenched in salty brine
Does not singe lips, tastes eerie gentle.

And stuffy dreams are whispering
That I’ll be tried by my own essence
Dispensing her capricious whims
Like pregnant wives, the loath despots.

Oh, murky, murky, murky way,
Why are you murky, unrelenting?
As if a slightly pulled up drape
Is being promptly drawn descending!

And I must raise myself to God
To crush at night like a dead stone,
And wait, and wait until I’m thawed
And burned by lazy flames through bone.


Translated by Dina Belyayeva

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sergei Yesenin - At Sunset

At sunset the crimson light weaves across the lake,
In the grove wood grouses cry with a strident clang.

Out an oriole laments, holed up in a tree.
I alone don’t feel like crying, filled with joyful glee.

You would slip away to me in the evening dusk,
We would sit in fresh cut hay under finished stacks. 

Like a bloom I’d rumple you, kiss till headiness,
You cannot reproach a man drunk from happiness. 

You would toss the silky veil, dazed from my delight,
And I’d whisk you to the bush till the dawning light. 

Even though the grouses sound woebegone,
There’s a joyous dolor in the crimson dawn.


Translated by Dina Belyayeva

Friday, June 5, 2015

Boris Pasternak - Hamlet

Noises ebbed. I entered the stage door.          
Leaning up against the door jamb, still
I attempt to piece from distant echoes,
What the future has in store for me.
I am scrutinized by nightly darkness
With a thousand binoculars to see.
Only if you’re willing, Abba Father,                    
Take this cup of suffering from me.                    
I am fond of your persistent plot line,               
And quite willing to take on the role.
But another drama is unfolding,                                           
And this time I wish to be let go.
But the plot is thought through and predestined,
And the journey end is firmly sealed.
I’m alone, all drowned in Phariseeism.
Life is not a stroll across a field.

Translated by Dina Belyayeva

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Nikolay Gumilyov - Yet All But Once

Yet all but once you’ll reminisce of me
And of my world mysterious and thrilling,
The quirky world of songs and fervency,
But among all, unique and undeceiving.

It could have been yours also, but alas,
It was too much for you, or was too scanty,
I must have failed at poetry and thus
Impiously I beg for you the Heavens.

But every time your tiredly stooped
And said, “I would not dare to remember.
For I was lured by the other world,
The plain and brutish beautiful contender.”


Translated by Dina Belyayeva

Russian original


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Osip Mandelstam - In the yard

* * *
In the yard I washed up late at night -
Rough-hewn stars shone on the vault of heaven.
On the ax like salt the starlight's bright,
And the barrel cooled filled to the brim forsaken.

All the gates are padlocked, and the Earth
Comes across as consciousness severe, -
One can’t find any premise worth
This much pure truth to persevere. 

In the barrel stars like salt dissolve,
And the water chill is dark and rueful.
Death is purer, woe is saltier and all
On the Earth’s more terrible and truthful.


Translated by Dina Belyayeva