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

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Marina Tsvetaeva - Oh, the flippancy

* * *
Oh, the flippancy, charming crime,
My companion, and my sweet foe!
You splashed laughter into my eyes,
Spiked my blood with mazurka flow.

Taught that keeping the wedding band,
Doesn't matter, together or parting!
Willy-nilly to start at the end,
And to quit before even starting.

Be like steel blades and blades of grass,
In this life where we grow defenseless...
- To treat sadness with chocolate bars,
And to laugh in the passersby faces!

March 3, 1915

Translated by Dina Belyayeva

Russian original


Marina Tsvetaeva - Under a Velvet Throw

* * *
Remembering the last night vision,
Caressed under a velvet throw.
What happen then? And who was winning? 
Who’s overthrown?

Rethinking everything all over, 
Tormented over and above,
I could not name it, could not know it,
Or was it love?

Who was the hunter, who was hunted?
The devilish confusing plot!
What did the fluffy kitty fathom
While it have purred?

And in that battle of willpowers
Who was a toy? And in whose hand?
Whose heart - was yours or mine entirely - 
Skipped, raced and sped?

And yet I’m mystified - What was it?
Why is this longing and this woe?
I still don’t know: Have I won it?
Or have I lost?

October 23, 1914

Translated by Dina Belyayeva

Russian original

The poem was popularized as a song form 1984 movie A Cruel Romance


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Sergei Yesenin - It makes me sad

* * *
It makes me sad to look at you,
Oh, what a pain, or what a sorrow!
We’re left with willows’ copper hue
In this September chilly morrow.
Strange lips have scattered and dispelled
Your body warmth and tender quivers.
As if my torpid soul repelled
The drizzle through erratic shivers.
So what! I’m not afraid of this.
There is a joy for me to witness.
Though nothing left to reminisce,
But for the yellow rot and wetness.
Though I have not conserved myself
For peaceful life, for gentle smiles...
How many blunders I befell?
The roads I walked… How many miles?
Pathetic life, pathetic split,
What happened will keep on resurging.
The graveyard of our orchard spilled
The gnawed up bare-bone birches.
And so we’ll bloom and fade away
Like noises from a barren orchard…
Since winter doesn't bring bouquets,
No use to wallow in misfortune.


Translated by Dina Belyayeva

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Zinaida Gippius - All It

Brassy noise and smoky powder,
Sticky-scarlet streams amass,
Clammy swish of crawling bodies…
Where are them and where are us?

No more baseless expectations,
Unavailing victories,
And contended aspirations 
Died with fervent reveries.

All are one, we’re all conjoined,
Us or them, Death doesn't choose.
That machine continues churning,
And the war is chewing chew.


Translated by Dina Belyayeva

Russian original