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Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Read and Compare

Versions of Translation for Analytical Reading

  
  

Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Wounds

   To D.G.

Translated by Arthur Boyars and Simon Franklin

Yevgeny Yevtushenko

***

   To D.G.

(Translated by Alec Vagapov)

  
  
   I have been wounded so often and so painfully,
   dragging my way home at the merest crawl,
   impaled not only by malicious tongues--
   one can be wounded even by a petal.
  
   And I myself have wounded--quite unwittingly--
   with casual tenderness while passing by,
   and later someone felt the pain,
   it was like walking barefoot over the ice.
  
   So why do I step upon the ruins
   of those most near and dear to me,
   I, who can be so simply and so sharply wounded
   and can wound others with such deadly ease?
   1973
  
  


Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Alder Catkin

Translated by Arthur Boyars and Simon Franklin

  
   Whenever the wind
   drops an alder catkin into my palm,
   or a cuckoo calls merrily,
   with trains screaming by,
   I fall to reflecting,
   and struggle to grasp life's meaning,
   and, as usual, arrive
   at the place where it slips from my grasp.
   Reducing oneself
   to a speck of dust in a starry nebula
   is an old way out,
   but wiser than trumped-up grandeur,
   and it's no degradation
   to realize one's own insignificance,
   for in it we realize sadly
   the implicit grandeur of life.
   Alder catkin,
   weightless as down,
   only blow it away
   and all changes utterly,
   and life, it appears,
   is not such a trifling matter,
   when nothing about it
   seems merely a trifle.
   Alder catkin,
   loftier than any prophecy!
   The person who silently
   pulls it to pieces is changed.
   So what, if we can't
   change the world in a flash, as we'd like--
   when we change,
   the world changes too!
   We're then transported
   into a kind of new quality
   as we sail into the distance
   to a new unknown land,
   and we don't even notice
   the rocking's strange rhythm
   on new waters,
   and a completely different ship.
   When there suddenly wakes
   the starless feeling of being a castaway
   from those shores
   where you greeted the dawn with such hope,
   my dear companion,
   there's no need, take it from me, to despair--
   Trust in the unknown
   alarmingly black anchorage!
   What often alarms from afar
   seems hardly perturbing in close-up.
   There too are eyes, voices,
   the minute glow of cigarettes.
   But as you grow used to it,
   the creak of what seems like a haven
   will murmur to you
   that no single haven exists.
   Translucent the soul
   that can't be embittered by change!
   Forgive the friends who've misunderstood
   or even betrayed you.
   Forgive, understand,
   even if your lover stops loving you!
   Set her free from your palm
   like an alder catkin.
   And don't trust a new haven
   that starts to enfold you;
   your vocation is
   the havenless far-off distance.
   Break away from the morning
   if you become moored by habit,
   and cast off again
   and set sail for a different sorrow.
   Let people say:
   "Really, when will he get some sense!"
   Don't worry!
   You can't please them all at one time.
   What base common sense:
   "It'll all blow over, it'll all come right in the end..."
   When it all comes right in the end,
   there's no point in living.
   And what can't be explained
   is in no way nonsensical.
   All reassessments should not worry one in the least--
   since the value of life
   won't be lowered
   or raised:
   the worth of what's beyond value
   isn't subject to change.
   ...Why am I saying all this?
   Because one stupid
   chatterbox of a cuckoo
   predicts a long life for me.
   Why am I saying all this?
   Because an alder catkin
   lies in my palm,
   and quivers, as if living..
   1975
  
  
  

Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Career

   To Y. Vasiliev
  

Translated by George Reavey

  
   Galileo, the clergy maintained,
   was a pernicious and stubborn man.
   But time has a way of demonstrating
   the most stubborn are the most intelligent.
  
   In Galileo's day, a fellow scientist
   was no more stupid than Galileo.
   He was well aware the earth revolved,
   but he also had a large family to feed.
  
   Stepping into a carriage with his wife,
   after effecting his betrayal,
   he believed he was launched on a career,
   though he was undermining it in reality.
  
  
   Galileo alone had risked asserting
   the truth about our planet,
   and this made him a great man... His was
   a genuine career as I understand it.
  
   I salute then a career,
   when the career is akin to
   that of a Shakespeare or Pasteur,
   a Newton or Tolstoy- Leo!
  
   Why did people fling mud at them all?
   Talent speaks for itself, whatever the charges.
   We've forgotten the men who abused them,
   Remember only the victims of slander.
  
  
  
  
  
   All who rushed into the stratosphere,
   the doctors who perished fighting cholera,
   were, all of them, men of career!
   I take their careers as my example!
  
   I believe in their sacred faith.
   Their faith is my very manhood.
   I shall therefore pursue my career
   by trying not to pursue one.
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Don't Disappear

Translated by Antonina W. Bouis, Albert C. Todd and

  
   Don't disappear. . . . By disappearing from me,
   you will disappear from yourself,
   betraying your own self forever,
   and that will be the basest dishonesty.
  
   Don't disappear. . . . To disappear is so easy.
   It's impossible to resurrect one another.
   Death drags down too deep.
   Death even for a moment is too long.
  
   Don't disappear. . . . Forget the third shadow.
   In love there are only two. There are no thirds.
   We both will be pure on Judgment Day,
   when the trumpets call us to account.
  
   Don't disappear. . . . We have redeemed sin.
   We both are free of the law, we are sinless.
   We are worthy together of the forgiveness of those
   whom we have unintentionally wounded.
  
   Don't disappear. . . . One can disappear in an instant,
   but how could we meet later in the centuries ahead?
   Is your double possible in the world,
   and my double? Only barely in our children.
  
   Don't disappear. . . . Give me your palm.
   I am written on it--this I believe.
   What makes one's last love terrible
   is that it is not love, but fear of loss.
  
   1987
  
  
  
  
  

Yevgeny Yevtushenko

  
   "I dreamed I already..."
  
   Translated by James Dickey with Anthony Kahn (revised)
  
  
   I dreamed I already loved you.
   I dreamed I already killed you.
  
   But you rose again; another form, but you,
   a girl on the little ball of the earth,
   naive simplicity, curve-necked
   on that early canvas of Picasso,
   and prayed to me with your ribs:
   "Love me," as though you said, "Don't push me off."
  
   I'm that played-out, grown-up acrobat,
   hunchbacked with senseless muscles,
   who knows that advice is a lie,
   that sooner or later there's falling.
  
   I'm too scared to say: "I love you,"
   because I'd be saying: "I'll kill you."
  
   For in the depths of a face I can see through
   I see the faces--can't count them--
   that, right on the spot, or maybe
   not right away, I tortured to death.
  
   You're pale from the mortal balance. You say:
   "I know everything; I was all of them.
   I know you've already loved me.
   I know you've already killed me.
   But I won't spin the globe backwards:
   Love again, and then kill again."
  
   Lord, you're young. Stop your globe.
   I'm tired of killing. I'm not a damn thing but old.
  
   You move the earth beneath your little feet,
   you fall, "Love me."
   It's only in those eyes, so similar, you say:
   "This time don't kill me!"
  
   1967
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

Yevgeny Yevtushenko

I'm an Angel

Translated by George Reavey

  
   I've stopped drinking.
   I love my wife.
   My own wife--
   I insist on this.
   Living so like an angel,
   I almost quote Shchipachev.
   This is a shriveled life.
   I've shut my eyes to all other women.
   My shoulders feel peculiar.
   Aha!
   Wings must be sprouting!
   This makes me anxious.
   Moody.
   And the wings keep sprouting-what a nuisance!
   How awkward!
   Now I'll have to slit
   my jacket in appropriate places.
   A true angel,
   I bear life no grudge
   for all its cruel hurts.
   I'm a true angel.
   But I still smoke.
   I'm the smoking type.
   To be an angel
   is strange work.
   Pure spirit.
   Not an ounce of flesh.
   And the women pass by.
   A true angel,
   what good to them am I!
   I don't count for the present,
   not while I hold celestial rank,
   but--bear in mind--in this life,
   a fallen angel
   is the worst devil of all!
  
  
  
  
  

Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Lies

Translated by Robin Milner-Gulland and Peter Levi (revised)

  
   Lying to the young is wrong.
   Proving to them that lies are true is wrong.
   Telling them
   that God's in his heaven
   and all's well with the world
   is wrong.
   They know what you mean.
   They are people too.
   Tell them the difficulties
   can't be counted,
   and let them see
   not only
   what will be
   but see
   with clarity
   these present times.
   Say obstacles exist they must encounter,
   sorrow comes,
   hardship happens.
   The hell with it.
   Who never knew
   the price of happiness
   will not be happy.
   Forgive no error
   you recognize,
   it will repeat itself,
   a hundredfold
   and afterward
   our pupils
   will not forgive in us
   what we forgave.
   1952
  
  

Yevgeny Yevtushenko

You Are Great in Love

Translated by Albert C. Todd

  
   You are great in love.
   You are bold.
   My every step is timid.
   I'll do nothing bad to you,
   but can hardly do you any good.
   It seems you are
   leading me
   off the beaten path through a forest.
  
   Now we're up to our waist in wildflowers.
   I don't even know
   what flowers they are.
   Past experience is of no help here.
   I don't know
   what to do or how.
  
   You're tired.
   You ask to be carried in my arms.
   Already you're in my arms.
  
  
   "Do you see
   how blue the sky is?
   Do you hear
   what birds are in the forest?
   Well, what are you waiting for?
   Well?
   Carry me then!"
   And where shall I carry you?...
  
   1953
  
  
  
   Many times I have been wounded badly,
   crawling home, my soul and body stiff;
   not that I've been beaten angrily, --
   you can wound one even with a leaf.
  
   I have wounded some with unavailing
   transient caress, alluring eyes,
   and I know it can be very ailing
   and as painful as the touch of ice.
  
   Why on earth, do I offend my brothers,
   tread on ruins of my dearest friends,
   I, the one who easily wounds others
   and the one who's quick to take offence?
  
   1973
  
  

Yevgeny Yevtushenko

  

The Catkin From An Alder-Tree

   To D. Batler

(translated by Alec Vagapov)

  
   The instant a catkin falls down on my palm from an alder
   or when a cuckoo gives a call, through the thunder of train,
  
   attempting to give explanation to living I ponder
   and find it impossible to understand and explain.
  
  
   Reducing oneself to a speck of a star-dust is trivial,
   but certainly wiser than being affectedly great,
   and knowing one's smallness is neither disgrace nor an evil,
   it only implies our knowledge of greatness of fate.
  
  
   The alder-tree catkin is light and so airy and fluffy;
   you blow it away, -- and the world will go wrong overnight.
   Our life doesn't seem to be petty and trifling
   for nothing in it is a trifle and nothing is slight.
  
   The alder-tree catkin is greater than any prediction,
   and he who has quietly broken it won't be the same.
   We cannot change everything now by our volition,
   the world tends to change anyway with the change of ourselves.
  
   And so we transform to assume quite a different essence
   and go on a voyage to a desolate land, far from home,
   we don't even notice and don't realize our presence
   on board an entirely different ship, in a storm.
  
   And when you are seized with a feeling of hopeless remoteness,
   away from the shores where the sunrise amazed you at dawn,
  
   my dear good friend, don't despair and please don't be hopeless, --
  
   believe in the black frightening harbors, so strange and unknown.
  
  
   A place, when remote, may be frightening but not when it's near.
   There's everything there: eyes, voices, the lights and the sun...
   As you get accustomed the creak of the shadowy pier
   will tell you that there're can be more piers and harbors than one.
  
   Your soul clears up, with no malice against the conversion.
   Forgive all your friends that betrayed you, or misunderstood.
   Forgive your beloved one if you don't enjoy her affection,
   allow her to fly off your palm like a catkin, for good.
  
   And don't put your trust in a harbor that gets too officious.
   An endless and harbourless vast is what you must have on the brain.
   If something should keep you pinned down just get off the hinges
   And go on a lasting disconsolate voyage once again.
  
  
   "Whenever will he come to reason?" -- some people may grumble.
   You don't have to worry, you know that one cannot please all.
  
   The saying that "all things must pass" is a treacherous babble
   if all things must pass, then it isn't worth living at all.
  
   What can't be explained isn't really absolute nonsense.
   So don't be embarrassed by revaluation of things, --
   There won't be a fall nor a rise in the prices of our life since
   the price of a thing of no value remains as it is.
  
   ...Now why do I say it? Because a cuckoo, silly liar,
   predicts that I'm going to live a long life
   Now why do I say it? Well, there is an alder-tree flower,
   a catkin, which, quivering, rests on my palm as if live...
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Career

   To Y. Vasiliev
  
   (translated by Alec Vagapov)
  
   The pastors claimed that Galileo
   was an unreasonable man,
   but time has made it crystal clear
   that lack of reason is a good sign.
    
   A scholar from that same era
   who was as smart as Galileo
   knew that the earth was turning round
   but he'd his family on hand.
    
   Riding a coach, with near and dear,
   after he'd done the traitor's act
   he thought of making a career
   but he had ruined it, in fact.
    
   Nobody wished to risk, for knowledge,
   but scholar Galileo did,
   the greatest man he was acknowledged...
   "Careerist" he was indeed!
    
   Long live the notion of career
   if it implies making the grade,
   like the career of Shakespeare,
   Homer, Pasteur, Tolstoy the Great.
    
   I wonder why they were trodden.
   A gift will always be a gift!
   The slanderers are now forgotten
   while those who were slandered live.
    
  
  
  
  
  
   Those who explored the stratosphere,
   the docs that perished for the good, --
   they were "seeking a career",
   and I should like to follow suit!
    
   Their holy faith in their idea
   inspires me with fortitude.
   So I'm following a career
   without trying to follow it.
  
   1957
  
  
  
  
  

Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Don't Disappear

Translated by Alec Vagapov

  
  
   Don't disappear... for if you go away,
transfigured, you will leave your own essence.
Once and for all your own self you will betray
and that will be dishonest, downright treacherous.
  
Don't go...You can depart quite easily, of course.
But you and I will not revive. We wouldn't.
   Death has a an extraordinary drawing force,
and dying, even for a moment, is imprudent.
  
Don't go... Forget the shade in our way.
Love is for two. A third one doesn't count.
We shall be flawless on the
Judgement Day
when trumpeters call us for account.
  
We have atoned for our sin... Don't say good-bye.
No one can censure us or make an accusation
,
and we deserve to be forgiven by
all those whom we have hurt, with no intention.
  
Don't vanish... You can do it in no time.
How can we subsequently see each other?
And can there be the double, yours and mine?
Exclusively in our kids, I gather.
  
Give me your hand... Don't disappear, please.
You've got me on your palm engraved distinctly.
The frightening truth about final, last love is
that it's the fear of loss, not love, to put it strictly.
  
   1977
  
  
  
  
  
  

Yevgeny Yevtushenko

  
  
   ***
  

(Translated by Alec Vagapov)

  
  
  
   I fancy, I've already loved you.
   I fancy, I've already killed you.
  
   But you revived embodied in a girl,
   as an ingenuous figure on a ball;
    
   your body bent, you try to keep your balance -
   as if you were from Picasso's canvass.
   You ask me with your heart and soul :
   "Do love me!", like " Don't push me off the ball !"
    
   I am that weary acrobatic man,
   my muscles make me look a humpbacked one
   who knows that all advice is false and leads astray,
   and you are sure to fall down anyway.
    
   I want to say : "I love you", but I fear,
   it's like announcing : "I'll kill you, dear".
   For in the depth of the transparent face
   I see no end of faces, full of grace,
    
   of which I've loved and killed a lot,
   by torturing, or crushing on the spot.
   You're pale from fear, balancing the ball :
   "I've been among them, and I know it all.
   I know that you've already loved me.
   I know that you've already killed me.
   But I will not reverse the world. I won't.
   Love me again, then kill me if you want".
    
   I tell you, girl, do stop your ball.
   I'm tired of killing,. I'm too old.
   But you drive on the planet with your feet,
   and saying : "Love me do", you fall off it.
    
   And deep inside the eyes, - so much like yours, -
   I read : "You will not kill me, I suppose !"
    
   1967
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

Yevgeny Yevtushenko

I  Am An Angel

(translated by Alec Vagapov)

  
   I do no drink.
   I love my wife.
   My own wife --
   one ought to know it.
   Indeed, I live an angel's life --
   to quote from Shchipachev, the poet.
   This way of life has made me sick.
   I shut my eyes to girls and women.
   My shoulders bind me, so to speak,
   I may have wings,
   as if inhuman!
   I'm at a loss.
   My heart may break.
   The wings are growing!
   I can't like it!
   What I shall have to do is make
   two holes for wings in my new jacket.
   I'm an angel.
   It's no joke.
   Yet with my life I'm not offended.
   I'm an angel.
   But I smoke
   for I'm
   nicotine-dependent.
   The angel's life
   is queer and hard.
   You have no flesh
   but only spirit.
   There are nice women all around,
   I'm an angel,
          and they feel it!
   They disregard me, leave me flat,
   as long as I'm at heaven level,
   but, mind,
   it is a former angel that
   will make the most appalling devil!
   1962
  
  
  

Yevgeny Yevtushenko

  

***

  

(translated by Alec Vagapov)

  
  
  
Do not tell lies to children, who are trusting,
do not convince them of a lying word,
   do not assure them that there is nothing
   except for peace and quiet in the world.
  
Do not deceive the kids, by any means,
by building for them castles in the air.
Don't try to teach them to believe in things
   which we do not believe in, as it were.
  
He who deludes a child will make him isolated,
confuse on purpose honor with disgrace.
Let children see both what will happen later
and what, in fact, is going on these days.
  
A nice sweet lie is poison in the ladle.
Don't pardon puppies a mendacious whine.
and our kids will not forgive us later
for our being forgiving down the line.
  
   1952-1989
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

Yevgeny Yevtushenko

***

  
  

Translated by Alec Vagapov

   ***
  
You are big
and courageous at loving.
   As for me, at each step I get shy.
I shall not do you harm, oh, my darling,
and I can't do you good, though I try.
  
  
I imagine,
you're leading me down
through a wood with no path and no way.
In waist-high wildflowers we are drowned,
   I'm wondering:
"What flowers are they?"

  
   All my skills are quite useless and shaky.
I don't know what to do
and how.
   You are tired.
You want me to take you
in your arms. There! I've taken you now.
  
"There are birds in the wood,
can't you hear?
Can't you see,
the sky is so blue?
Now, come on,
carry me somewhere, dear!"
   Yes,
but where shall I carry you?...
  
   1953

  
  
  
  

Булат Окуджава

Варианты переводов для литературного анализа

     
      ***
      Ю.Трифонову
     
      Давайте восклицать, друг другом восхищаться.
      Высокопарных слов не стоит опасаться.
     
      Давайте говорить друг другу комплименты -
      ведь это все любви счастливые моменты.
     
      Давайте горевать и плакать откровенно
      то вместе, то поврозь, а то попеременно.
     
      Не нужно придавать значения злословью -
      поскольку грусть всегда соседствует с любовью.
     
      Давайте понимать друг друга с полуслова,
      чтоб, ошибившись раз, не ошибиться снова.
     
      Давайте жить, во всем друг другу потакая, -
      тем более что жизнь короткая такая.
     
      1975
     
   A WORD OF ADVICE TO MY FRIENDS
      (translated by Murzin)
      См. сайт Мурзина http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Coffeehouse/9003/index.htm
   ***
      To Yury Trifonov
   (translated by Alec Vagapov)
     
     
   Let's exclaim, admire each other.
We don't have to fear high-flown words.
  
Let's compliment each other-
surely these are the happy moments of love.
  
   Let's grieve and cry openly
now together, now separately, now in turn.
  
   We don't have to pay attention to gossip-
since sadness always goes along with love.
  
   Lets' catch each others's meaning at once,
so that having made one mistake, we won't make any more.
  
  
Let's live, indulging each other in everything-
especially since life is so short.
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
   * * *
   Опустите, пожалуйста, синие шторы.
   Медсестра, всяких снадобий мне не готовь.
   Вот стоят у постели моей кредиторы
   молчаливые: Вера, Надежда, Любовь.
  
   Раскошелиться б сыну недолгого века,
   да пусты кошельки упадают с руки...
   Не грусти, не печалуйся, о моя Вера, -
   остаются еще у тебя должники!
  
   И еще я скажу и бессильно и нежно,
   две руки виновато губами ловя:
   - Не грусти, не печалуйся, матерь Надежда, -
   есть еще на земле у тебя сыновья!
  
   Протяну я Любови ладони пустые,
   покаянный услышу я голос ее:
   - Не грусти, не печалуйся, память не стынет,
   я себя раздарила во имя твое.
  
   Но какие бы руки тебя ни ласкали,
   как бы пламень тебя ни сжигал неземной,
   в троекратном размере болтливость людская
   за тебя расплатилась... Ты чист предо мной!
  
      Чистый-чистый лежу я в наплывах рассветных,
      перед самым рождением нового дня...
      Три сестры, три жены, три судьи милосердных
      открывают последний кредит для меня.
     
      1959
     
     
     
      THREE SISTERS
      (translated by Murzin)
     
      Please lower the blue blinds,
and, nurse, don't prepare drugs for me.
My creditors stand by my bed,
silent Faith, Hope, and Love.
     
      It's time for the son of a short century to pay off his debts,
but my empty purse falls from my hand.
"Don't be sad, don't be sorry, dear Faith,
there are still many debtors on earth."
     
      Then I'll say, powerlessly and tenderly,
guiltily seeking two hands with my lips,
"Don't be sad, don't be sorry, Mother Hope,
you still have sons on earth."
     
      I'll offer my empty hands to Love,
I will hear her penitent voice:
"Don't be sad, don't be sorry, I haven't forgotten you,
I gave you all freely for you own sake.
     
      Whatever hands have caressed you,
however love's heavenly flame burned in you,
because people's gossip payed your debts threefold,
your are clear in my sight."
     
      Sinless and clear I am laying in down's floods of light,
like a white flag the sheet streams on to the floor.
Three judges, three wives, three sisters of charity,
open limitless credit for me...
     
     
     
      ***
     
      Тьмою здесь все занавешено
      и тишина, как на дне...
      Ваше величество женщина,
      да неужели -- ко мне?
     
      Тусклое здесь электричество,
      с крыши сочится вода.
      Женщина, ваше величество,
      как вы решились сюда?
     
      О, ваш приход -- как пожарище.
      Дымно, и трудно дышать...
      Ну, заходите, пожалуйста.
      Что ж на пороге стоять?
     
      Кто вы такая? Откуда вы?!
      Ах, я смешной человек...
      Просто вы дверь перепутали,
      улицу, город и век.
     
      1960 
     
     
     
      YOUR MAJESTY, WOMAN
      (translated by Murzin)
     
     
      Here all has been curtained in darkness
and it's as silent as the bottom of the sea...
Your majesty, woman,
are you really coming to me?
     
      Here the light is feeble,
and water drips from the roof.
Woman, your majesty,
how can you bear to come here?
     
      Oh, your coming is a fire in my heart;
It's smoky and hard to breathe...
Well, come in, please, come in--
why stand in the doorway?
     
      Who are you? Where did you come from?
Of course, how silly I am...
You've simply mistaken the door,
the street, the city, the age.
     
     
     
     
  
  
     
      ***
      О. Б.
     
     
      Мне нужно на кого-нибудь молиться.
      Подумайте, простому муравью
      вдруг захотелось в ноженьки валиться,
      поверить в очарованность свою!
     
      И муравья тогда покой покинул,
      все показалось будничным ему,
      и муравей создал себе богиню
      по образу и духу своему.
     
      И в день седьмой, в какое-то мгновенье,
      она возникла из ночных огней
      без всякого небесного знаменья...
      Пальтишко было легкое на ней.
     
      Все позабыв -- и радости и муки,
      он двери распахнул в свое жилье
      и целовал обветренные руки
      и старенькие туфельки ее.
     
      И тени их качались на пороге.
      Безмолвный разговор они вели,
      красивые и мудрые, как боги,
      и грустные, как жители земли.
     
      1959
     
      I NEED SOMEONE TO ADORE
      (translated by Murzin)
     
      I need someone to adore.
Imagine, an ordinary ant
suddenly wanted to fall at someone's feet,
believing he had been enchanted!
     
      Then peace deserted him,
and everything seemed dull,
and he created a goddess for himself
in his own image and spirit.
     
      And on the seventh day,
without any heavenly sign...
she arose from the fires of night--
her ragged coat light upon her.
     
      Forgetting everything - both joy and torment,
the ant threw open his door
and kissed her weather-beaten hands
and her little old shoes.
     
      And their shadows swung on the threshold.
They spoke in silence,
they were beautiful and wise, like gods,
and sad, like those who dwell on earth.
     
     
     
     
  
  
      БУМАЖНЫЙ СОЛДАТИК
     
      Один солдат на свете жил,
      красивый и отважный,
      но он игрушкой детской был:
      ведь был солдат бумажный.
     
      Он переделать мир хотел,
      чтоб был счастливым каждый,
      а сам на ниточке висел:
      ведь был солдат бумажный.
     
      Он был бы рад -- в огонь и в дым,
      за вас погибнуть дважды,
      но потешались вы над ним:
      ведь был солдат бумажный.
     
      Не доверяли вы ему
      своих секретов важных,
      а почему?
      А потому,
      что был солдат бумажный.
     
      В огонь? Ну что ж, иди! Идешь?
      И он шагнул однажды,
      и там сгорел он ни за грош:
      ведь был солдат бумажный.
     
      1959
     
     
      A PAPER SOLDIER
      (translated by Murzin)
     
     
      Once upon a time there lived
a brave and handsome soldier,
but he was just a children's toy,
for he was just a paper soldier.
     
      He would have liked to change the world
so everyone would be happy,
but he always hung on a thread,
for he was just a paper soldier.
     
      He would have been glad in fire and smoke
to die for you twice over,
but you could only laugh at him,
for he was just a paper soldier.
     
      You never did confide in him
your most important secrets.
But why? Just because
he was a paper soldier.
     
      Into the fire? OK then, go! You're going?
And he took one step forward;
and there he perished all for naught,
for he was just a paper solder...
     
     
     
      ГЛАВНАЯ ПЕСЕНКА
       
      Наверное, самую лучшую
      на этой земной стороне
      хожу я и песенку слушаю --
      она шевельнулась во мне.
       
      Она еще очень неспетая.
      Она зелена как трава.
      Но чудится музыка светлая,
      и строго ложатся слова.
       
      Сквозь время, что мною не пройдено,
      сквозь смех наш короткий и плач
      я слышу: выводит мелодию
      какой-то грядущий трубач.
       
      Легко, необычно и весело
      кружит над скрещеньем дорог
      та самая главная песенка,
      которую спеть я не смог.
      1962
     
     
      THE MOST IMPORTANT SONG
      (translated by Murzin)
     
     
     
      I walk along and listen
to the most wonderful song on earth--
it has come to life
within me.
     
      It's still a very new song,
green, like spring grass.
But I seem to hear its airy music
and crisply falling words.
     
      Through time I have not yet lived,
through our brief laughter and tears,
I hear some guture trumpeter
playing the melody through.
     
      So special, so light, so merry,
that most important song,
that song I could not sing,
whirls above the crossing of the roads.
     
     
     
      Let's shout and rejoice, admire one another.
      About high-flown words we do not need to bother.
     
      Let's live in mutual praise, make complimentary comments
      For these are, after all, love's great and happy moments.
     
      Let's grieve and cry without concealing feelings, whether
      We're by ourselves or whether we're together.
     
      About vicious tongues we do not have to bother
      For love and sorrow always accompany each other.
     
      Let mutual understanding attend us at conferring
      So that we prevent our old mistakes recurring.
     
     
      Let's get along indulging and pleasing one another
      For life is very short, there won't be any other.
     
      1975
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
  
  
  
      * * *
      ( translated by Alec Vagapov)
     
      Will you please be so kind as to pull down the blinds, and,
      Nurse, you needn't prepare for me any dope.
      Here they are, right in front of my bed, keeping silent,
      My old creditors: Love and Belief, and great Hope.
     
      Now the short age's son has to settle accounts,
      But the light empty purses drop out of my hand...
      Please don't worry, Belief, don't be sad, and don't frown
      For you still have a lot of your debtors around.
     
      In a helpless and delicate way, feeling sorry,
      And touching its hands with my lips, I will say:
      `Please do not be upset, mother Hope, do not worry,
      for you still have your sons that are here to stay.'
     
      Open-handed, to Love empty palms I'll extend, and
      I will hear its soft penitential voice:
      `Don't be sad for the memory hasn't yet faded,
      I have given myself all away for your cause.
     
      But no matter whose hands may have ever caressed you,
      And no matter how ardent your passions have been,
      People's gossip has trebly paid off all your debts, so
      You are even with me ... You are upright and clean!'
     
      I am lounging, clean, in the fade-in of sunrise,
      Right before the emergence of forthcoming day...
      Three benign fair judges, three sisters, three spouses
      For the last time they trust me till I can repay.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
      ***
     
      (translated by Alec Vagapov)
     
      Darkness has covered the room an'
      it's quiet and still as can be.
      Good heavens! Your Majesty Woman,
      you really want to see me?
     
      Lighting is muddy in here,
      the walls have a leakage trace...
      Your Majesty Woman! Oh dear!
      How did you get to this place?
     
      My goodness! You came like a fire.
      Smoke makes me gasp, I can't breathe...
      Now do come in, I desire.
     
      Don't stand in the doorway, please.
      Where do you come from, my pretty?
      How funny! I must be on edge...
      You have mistaken the city,
      the door, and the street and the age. 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
      ***
      To O.B.
      translated by Alec Vagapov)
     
      I need someone to worship and admire. 
      Just think, a simple ordinary ant 
      got suddenly possessed with the desire 
      to bow the knee in fascination, charmed ! 
     
      The ant lost quietness and peace of mind, 
      life seemed so tedious to him. Meanwhile, 
      he made itself an idol of a kind, 
      a goddess in his own image and style. 
     
      And on the seventh day, at a sudden moment, 
      she sprang up, in a flash, from midnight lights, 
      without any sign and any omen... 
      dressed in a coat, she made a perfect sight. 
     
      Forgetting joys and sorrows, bad sensations, 
      he opened wide the doors to let her in 
      and kissed her weather-beaten hands, in adoration, 
      'n the little old shoes that she was wearing. 
     
      Their shadows were swaying in the doorway. 
      They quietly conversed, without saying a word, 
      like gods, they were beautiful, adoring, 
      like people, they were wistful and disturbed. 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
  
  
     
      THE PAPER SOLDIER
     
      (translated by Alec Vagapov)
     
      Once there lived a soldier-boy,
      quite brave, one can't be braver,
      but he was merely a toy
      for he was made of paper.
     
      He wished to alter everything,
      and be the whole world's helper,
      but he was puppet on a string,
      a soldier made of paper.
     
      He'd bravely go through fire and smoke,
      he'd die for you. No vapour.
      But he was just a laughing-stock,
      a soldier made of paper.
     
      You would mistrust him and deny
      your secrets and your favour.
      Why should you do it, really, why?
      `cause he was made of paper.
     
      He dreads the fire? Not at all!
      One day he cut a caper
      and died for nothing; after all,
      he was a piece of was paper. 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
      THE MAIN SONG
     
      (translated by Alec Vagapov)
     
     
      Wherever I go I can hear
      the song that has turned me on,
      the best one I heard over here,
      I listen again to the song.
     
      The singing requires more effort,
      it's raw and unripe, in fact.
      However, the music is perfect,
      the lyric precise and exact.
     
      Through times yet unseen and unknown
      through transient tears and smiles
      I hear a trumpeter blowing
      the tune in the best of styles.
     
      Unusual, light and so pleasant,
      it whirls over roads in a spin,
      this main song which up to the present
      I haven't been able to sing.
     
      Молитва Фpансуа Вийона
     
      Пока земля еще вертится, пока еще ярок свет,
Господи, дай же ты каждому, чего у него нет.
Умному дай голову, трусливому дай коня,
дай счастливому денег, и не забудь про меня.
      Пока земля еще вертится, господи, твоя власть,
дай рвущемуся к власти навластвоваться всласть.
Дай передышку щедрому хоть до исхода дня,
Каину дай раскаяние, и не забудь про меня.
      Я знаю, ты все умеешь, я верую в мудрость твою,
как верит солдат убитый, что он проживает в раю!
Как верит каждое ухо тихим речам твоим,
Как веруем и мы сами, не ведая, что творим.
      Господи мой, Боже, зеленоглазый мой!
Пока земля еще вертится, и это ей странно самой,
пока ей еще хватает времени и огня,
дай же ты всем понемногу, и не забудь про меня!
  
     
      THE PRAYER OF FRANCOIS VILLON
      ( Translated by Maya Jouravel)
      FRANCOIS VILLON'S PRAYER
   (translated by Alec Vagapov)
     
     
      As long, as the earth keeps turning,
      As long, as the light is bright,
      Almighty, please give to all of us
      The things that are not in our sight:
     
      Grant a mind to the wise man,
      The coward, grant him a horse,
      The happy, let him have money,
      And don't forget truly yours.
     
      So far, as the earth keeps turning,
      Almighty, it's in your wont,
      Grant to the striving for power
      To rule as much as he wants.
     
      Grant a break to the generous
      At least till the start of dusk.
      Grant repentance to Cain
      And don't forget truly yours.
     
      I know that you have the power
      I've faith in the wisdom of yours,
      As one of your shot dead soldiers
      Believes toward heaven he goes.
     
     
      As truly believes every being:
      All that you say is true,
      As we go on believing
      Not knowing what we do.
     
     
     
      O Lord of mine, the Almighty,
      The green eyed Creator of mine,
      So far as the earth keeps turning
      Although she still wonders, "why?",
     
      So far, as she still has left some
      Time, fire to keep her course,
      Grant something to everybody
      And don't forget truly yours.
     
     
      While the world is still turning,
      while the daylight is broad,
Oh Lord, pray, give everyone
      what he or she hasn't got.
     
Give the timid a horse to ride,
      give the wise a bright head,
Give the fortunate money
      and about me don't forget.
     
While the world is still turning,
      Lord, You are omnipotent,
Let those striving for power
      wield it to their heart's content.
     
Give a break to the generous,
      at least for a day or two,
Pray, give Cain repentance,
      and remember me, too.
     
I know You are almighty,
      and I believe You are wise
Like a soldier killed in a battle
      believes he's in paradise.
     
     
Like every eared creature
      believes, oh, my Lord, in You,
Like we believe, doing something,
      not knowing what we do.
     
     
     
Oh Lord, oh my Lord, God Almighty
      Green-eyed one, You're so good!
While the world is still turning,
      fearing, why it should,
     
While it has got sufficient
      fire and time, as You see,
Give each a little of something
      and remember about me!
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
      Веселый барабанщик
  
  
      Встань пораньше, встань пораньше,
      встань пораньше,
      Когда дворники маячат у ворот.
      Ты увидишь, ты увидишь
      как веселый барабанщик
      в руки палочки кленовые берет.
     
      Будет полдень, суматохою пропахший,
      звон трамваев и людской водоворот,
      но прислушайся -- услышишь,
      как веселый барабанщик
      с барабаном вдоль по улице идет.
     
      Будет вечер -- заговорщик и обманщик,
      темнота на мостовые упадет,
      но вглядись - и ты увидишь,
      как веселый барабанщик
      с барабаном вдоль по улице идет.
     
      Грохот палочек... то ближе он, то дальше.
      Сквозь сумятицу, и полночь, и туман...
      Неужели ты не слышишь,
      как веселый барабанщик
      вдоль по улице проносит барабан?! 
      1957 
     
  
   The Little Joyful Drummer
      Translated by Yevgeny Bonver, May, 2001
     
   The Happy Drummer
   (Translated By Alec Vagapov)
     
      Get up early, get up early in the summer,
      When a dvornik's looming up before your gates,
      You will see then, you will see then, that the little joyful drummer
      Takes the easy maple drum-sticks with his hands.
     
     
      It'll be noon, that's full of common bustle and humming,
      Rings of trams and people's flood of awful speed,
      But just hark, and you will hear, that the little joyful drummer
      Goes with his drum along the town's street.
     
      It'll be eve, which is the plotter and sly charmer,
      And the dark will fall on stones by your feet,
      But just look, and you will see then, that the little joyful drummer
      Goes with his drum along the town's street.
     
      The drum-sticks tell tales without stop and stammer
      Through a middle of night, and smoke, and bedlam...
      Do you, really, not hear that the little joyful drummer
      Does convey along the streets his timeless drum?
     
      1957
     
     
     
     
     
      Get up early
      when the birds begin to clamour,
      when the caretakers turn up in the yards.
      You will see the happy drummer
      yes, you'll see the happy drummer
      take his drum and maple drumsticks in his hands.
     
      There will be another day of fuss and tumult,
      streams of people and the rambling of a tram,
      you just listen, you will hear,
      and you'll see the happy drummer
      walking lively down the pavement with his drum
      .
      Night will come, -- the wicked plotter and the shammer,
      streets will sink into the darkness, growing calm;
      take a good look you will see, yes,
      you will see the happy drummer,
      walking lively down the pavement with his drum.
     
      Roll of drum... now fading in, now fading out,
      coming through the midnight, bustle, fog and hum...
      Can't you hear the happy drummer,
      make the loud rhythmic sound
      can't you see him carry proudly his drum?!
     
     
   FRANCOIS VILLON'S PRAYER
   Translated by Yevgeny Bonver, May, 2001
   FRANCOIS VILLON'S PRAYER
   (translated by Alec Vagapov)
     
     
      While Earth is still turning around,
      While light is still warming and bright,
      I pray you, my Lord, give just everyone,
      What everyone hasn't on his side:
     
      A head - give him who's always clever,
      A horse - give a coward - to flee,
      Give money him, who's now happy...
      And don't be forgetful of me.
     
      While Earth is still turning around,
      -- My Lord, it's for you to decide! -
      Let him, who is craving for power,
      Enjoy it until his is glut.
     
      Give breather a man, open-handed,
      At least, his day's evening to see.
      Let Cain have his utter repentance...
      And don't be forgetful of me.
     
      I know that you are almighty,
      Believe to that wisdom of yours,
      As solders believe - those killed ones -
      That they live the Eden indoors,
     
     
      As always believes every ear
      Your quiet admonishes to,
      As all we believe to our actions,
      Not knowing ev'n what we do.
     
      Oh, God! Oh, my Master, almighty!
      Oh, You of the evergreen eyes!
      While Earth is still turning around -
      That's strange and to her and to us, -
     
      While she has enough of the fire
      And time for us farther to be,
      Give everyone even a little...
      And don't be forgetful of me.
     
     
     
     
     
     
      While the world is still turning,
      while the daylight is broad,
Oh Lord, pray, give everyone
      what he or she hasn't got.
     
Give the timid a horse to ride,
      give the wise a bright head,
Give the fortunate money
      and about me don't forget.
     
While the world is still turning,
      Lord, You are omnipotent,
Let those striving for power
      wield it to their heart's content.
     
Give a break to the generous,
      at least for a day or two,
Pray, give Cain repentance,
      and remember me, too.
     
I know You are almighty,
      and I believe You are wise
Like a soldier killed in a battle
      believes he's in paradise.
     
     
Like every eared creature
      believes, oh, my Lord, in You,
Like we believe, doing something,
      not knowing what we do.
     
      Oh Lord, oh my Lord, God Almighty
      Green-eyed one, You're so good!
While the world is still turning,
      fearing, why it should,
     
While it has got sufficient
      fire and time, as You see,
Give each a little of something
      and remember about me!
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
  
  
  
     
     
     
      The Midnight Trolley Bus
   (Translated by Yevgeny Bonver,
   May, 2001)
     
   The Last Trolleybus
   (Translated by Alec Vagapov)
     
     
      When I am besieged with despair and reprove,
      Because can't stop fatal disaster,
      I enter a blue trolley bus at his move -
      That's here by chance and the last one.
     
     
      Oh, bus of midnight, speed along sleeping streets,
      Fill them with your endless rotation
      To pick up all people whose lives, like poor ships,
      Were wrecked by the fatal occasions.
     
     
     
      Oh, bus of midnight, open your noiseless doors,
      I know: in changeable darkness,
      Your passengers, silent, - the sailors of yours -
      Come always to help in unluckiness.
     
     
      With them I'd leave often my woes behind,
      I used to touch them with my shoulders,
      Imagine, how much of the goodness and kind -
      In silence which over them hovers.
     
     
      Our bus sails through Moscow, sunk in midnight,
      Like rivers - it loses its fires,
      This pain-starling, striking my whiskeys inside, -
      It slowly tires - it tires.
     
     
      When I'm in trouble and totally done
      and when all my hope I abandon
      I get on the blue trolley bus on the run,
      the last one,
      at random.
     
      Night trolley, roll on sliding down the street,
      around the boulevards keep moving
      to pick up all those who are wrecked and in need
      of rescue
      from ruin.
     
     
      Night trolley bus will you please open your doors !
      On wretched cold nights, I can instance,
      your sailors would come, as a matter of course,
      to render
      assistance.
     
      So many a time they have lent me a hand
      to help me get out of grievance...
      Imagine, there is so much kindness behind
      this silence
      and stillness.
     
      Last trolley rolls round the greenery belt
      and Moscow, like river, dies down...
      the hammering blood in my temples I felt
      calms down
      calms down.
     
     
   APRIL DUTY
   (translated by Tanya Jean Wolfson)
   THE NIGHT DUTY IN APRIL
      to Zh. B.
   (translated by Alec Vagapov)
     
      But the nights are really absolutely stunning.
      Only mother's restless worrying has grown:
      Why must you go wandering, my honey,
      On your own? On your own?
     
      I run from one end of April to the other.
      Stars above me mellowed down, grew big as apples.
      Nothing's wrong: I am on duty, mother.
      I'm responsible for April.
     
     
      But my baby, things have changed since you've been roaming.
      But my child, your eyes are sad, I don't believe you.
      Has there been some trouble with a woman?
      Did she leave you? Did she leave you?
     
      I run from one end of April to the other.
      Stars above me mellowed down, grew big as apples.
      Please don't worry: I am on duty, mother.
      I'm responsible for April.
     
     
     
      What a wonderful and lovely night we're having!
      But my mother is alarmed and worried strongly.
      -- Why do you stay out at these hours, darling,
      on your own and so lonely?
     
      -- I'm on my way towards the end of April, dear,
      I should say, the stars have grown kind and round...
      Mother, I'm just on duty here,
      It's my April
      Nightly round
     
      -- Sonny, dear, I remember all your story;
      now you're sad, your eyes are filled with grievance...
      Maybe, she's forgotten you, and isn't sorry,
      and she doesn't
      seek forgiveness?
     
      -- I'm on my way towards the end of April, dear,
      I should say, the stars have grown kind and round...
      Mother, I'm just on duty here,
      It's my April nightly round...
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     0x01 graphic
  

Владимир Высоцкий

Версии переводов

(для аналитического чтения)

Vladimir Vysotsky

Read and Compare

  
   Владимир Высоцкий
   МАСКИ
   THE MASKS

(translated by Alec Vagapov)

    
   Смеюсь навзрыд, как у кривых зеркал,
   Меня, должно быть, ловко разыграли --
   Крючки носов и до ушей оскал,
   Как на венецианском карнавале.
    
   Вокруг меня смыкается кольцо,
   Меня хватают, вовлекают в пляску.
   Так-так, мое нормальное лицо
   Все остальные приняли за маску.
    
   Петарды, конфетти, но все не так,
   И маски на меня глядят с укором.
   Они кричат, что я опять не в такт
   И наступаю на ногу партнерам.
    
   Что делать мне? Бежать да поскорей,
   А может вместе с ними веселиться?
   Надеюсь я, под масками зверей
   У многих человеческие лица.
    
   Все в масках, в париках, все как один,
   Кто сказочен, а кто литературен.
   Сосед мой слева -- грустный арлекин,
   Другой -- палач, а каждый третий -- дурень.
    
  
   Я в хоровод вступаю хохоча,
   Но все-таки мне неспокойно с ними,
   А вдруг кому-то маска палача
   Понравится, и он ее не снимет.
    
   Вдруг арлекин навеки загрустит,
   Любуясь сам своим лицом печальным,
   Вдруг дурень свой дурацкий вид
   Так и забудет на лице нормальном.
    
   Как доброго лица не прозевать,
   Как честных угадать наверняка мне?
   Все научились маски надевать,
   Чтоб не разбить свое лицо о камни.
    
   Я в тайну масок, видимо, проник,
   Уверен я, что мой анализ точен,
   И маски равнодушия у них --
   Защита от плевков и от пощечин.
  
   1971
   Vladimir Vysotsky
  
   Carnival masks
  
   Џ George Tokarev. Translation, 2001
Edited by Robert Titterton
  
  
   It's very funny - really it is!
   I am amazed with how clever man is:
   Hooked noses I see and bared teeth,
   As if I'm at the carnival in Venice.
  
   They come on me - bright costumes trimmed with lace,
   I'm pulled inside, I'm being pinched and shaken;
   Well, now I see - my normal human face
   By all of them just for a mask was taken!
  
   Confetti, fire works... I feel I don't belong,
   They look reprovingly at me, discomfort grows.
   They yell at me that all my steps are wrong,
   They yell I'm stepping on my partners' toes.
  
   Should I escape from this unreal feast?
   Or should I join this merry-go-round?
   I hope that beneath the masks of beasts
   Still human faces can sometimes be found.
  
   These characters all come from tales or books,
   These wigs and masks are brown, yellow, ruby...
   My neighbor's Harlequin who has unhappy looks,
   The next one's Hangman, while the other's Booby.
  
   One tries to show people: all is well!
   Behind the mask the other hides despair...
   Some other men can no longer tell
   Their real faces from the masks they wear!
  
   I join their dance, I laugh with them, although,
   I'm not convinced that it's the right endeavor:
   Say, someone likes the mask of Hangman so
   That he would like to keep this mask forever...
  
   Say, Harlequin remains forever sad,
   Enjoying his abnormal wistful image...
   What if the foolish looks this Booby's had
   Remain forever on his real visage?
    
  
   "Who's honest here? - yet my soul asks, -
   Is there a kind face in this whirl-around?"
   Now all have learned to put on different masks
  
  
  
   РАССТРЕЛ ГОРНОГО ЭХА
   В тиши перевала, где скалы ветрам не помеха,
   помеха,
   На кручах таких, не какие никто не проник,
   никто не проник,
   Жило-поживало веселое горное, горное эхо.
   Оно отзывалось на крик, человеческий крик.
  
  
   Когда одиночество комом подкатит под горло,
   под горло
   И сдавленный стон еле слышно в обрыв упадет,
   в обрыв упадет,
   Крик этот о помощи эхо подхватит, подхватит
   проворно,
   Усилит и бережно -- в руки своих -- донесет.
  
   Должно быть, не люди, напившись дурмана и зелья,
   и зелья,
   Чтоб не был услышан никем громкий топот и храп,
   топот и храп,
   Пришли умертвить, обеззвучить живое, живое
   ущелье,
   И эхо связали, и в рот ему всунули кляп.
  
  
   Всю ночь продолжалась кровавая злая потеха,
   потеха,
   И эхо топтали, но звука никто не слыхал,
   никто не слыхал...
   К утру расстреляли притихшее горное, горное эхо,
  
  
   И брызнули слезы, как камни, из раненых скал...
  
  
   И брызнули слезы, как камни, из раненых скал...
  
  
   И брызнули слезы, как камни, из раненых скал...
  
  
   Vysotsky's Lyrics:
  
   Mountain echo
   Translation by Ilya Shambat
  
Russian title:
Gornoe ekho
  
   In the quiet valley where rocks do not stand in the way of the windstorm
   In such places that no one got there or will get again
   There joyfully lived a delightfully happy mountain echo
   It answered the cry of mankind - yes it answered the cry of the man.
  
  
  
   When loneliness comes up to throat as if with a stone
   And moan once suppressed falls into the crevasse in the land
   The echo would take up this cry that comes out of the troat
   Augment manifold and then gently lift up in its hand.
  
  
  
  
  
   Perhaps it was people, made drunk on a horrible potion
   In order that no one would hear their stomping and shouts
   Came over to kill, to make soundless the mountain valley
   And they tied the echo and they placed a gag in its mouth.
  
   All night they continued the bloody and cruel amusement
   And nobody heard but a sound as on it people walked
   In morning they shot in the face the quiescent mountain echo
  
   And stones just like tears did burst from the wounded rock.
   To save their faces if they hit the ground.
   I know why these masks are often worn,
   I know why they are preferred by people -
   The mask of coldness and total unconcern
   Protects a man against a slap or spittle!
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
   ГОРОДСКОЙ РОМАНС
   Я однажды гулял по столице,
   Двух прохожих случайно зашиб,
   И, попавши за это в милицию,
   Я увидел ее и -- погиб.
  
   Я не знаю, она что там делала,
   Видно, паспорт пришла получать,
   Молодая, красивая, белая...
   И решил я ее разыскать.
  
   Шел за ней и запомнил парадное.
   Что сказать ей -- ведь я ж хулиган.
   Выпил я и позвал ненаглядную
   В привокзальный один ресторан.
  
   Ну а ей улыбались прохожие,
   Мне хоть просто кричи: караул!
   Одному человеку по роже я
   Дал за то, что он ей подморгнул.
  
   Я икрою ей булки намазывал,
   Деньги просто рекою текли,
   Я ж такие ей песни заказывал!
   А в конце заказал "Журавли".
  
   Обещанья я ей до утра давал,
   Повторял что-то вновь ей и вновь.
   Я ж пять дней никого не обкрадывал,
   Моя с первого взгляда любовь.
  
   Говорил я, что жизнь потеряна,
   Я сморкался и плакал в кашне.
   А она сказала: "Я верю вам
   И отдамся по сходной цене."
  
   Я ударил ее, птицу белую, --
   Закипела горячая кровь.
   Понял я, что в милиции делала
   Моя с первого взгляда любовь.
  
   1962
  
   Urban Romance
   Translation Џ by Ilya Vinarsky
  
  
   Once, I took a stroll through the capital,
   Two passers-by inadvertently hurt
   And, having gotten to the police for this,
   I saw her - and died on the spot.
  
   I don't know what she was doing there -
   To get a passport, she must have come.
   She was young, white-skinned and beautiful,
   I decided to track down the gal.
  
  
  
   I followed her, and remembered the doorway,
   What shall I say, a hoodlum that I am?
   I took a sip, and invited the sweetie
   To a near-railroad restaurant.
  
   As we walked, the passers-by grinned at me,
   I couldn't take it - just cry for help.
   I smacked some guy on the mug
   Because he winked at her.
  
   I smeared black caviar on white bread for her,
   Money flowed away river-like,
   What songs did I order for her!
   And at last ordered "The Cranes"
  
   Till the morn I was giving her promises,
   Repeated something again and again,
   For five days I hadn't robbed anyone,
   My love-at-the-first-sight.
  
   I was telling her that my life was lost,
   Blew my nose, wiped my tears with the scarf.
   And she told me, "I believe you,
   Let us only agree on the price."
  
   I struck her, the white-skinned beauty,
   The young blood boiled in me,
   I realized what she was doing at the police,
   My love-at-the-first-sight.
  
   1964
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
   * * *
  
   О нашей встрече, что там говорить?
   Я ждал ее, как ждут стихийных бедствий,
   Но мы с тобою сразу стали жить,
   Не опасаясь пагубных последствий.
  
   Я сразу сузил круг твоих знакомств,
   Одел, обул и вытащил из грязи,
   Но за тобой тянулся длинный хвост,
   Длиннющий хвост твоих коротких связей.
  
   Потом я, помню, бил друзей твоих --
   Мне было с ними как-то неприятно,
   Хотя, быть может, были среди них,
   Наверняка, отличные ребята.
  
   Все, о чем просила, мигом делал я.
   Мне каждый час хотелось сделать ночью брачной.
   Из-за тебя под поезд прыгал я,
   Но, слава богу, не совсем удачно.
  
   И если б ты ждала меня в тот год,
   Когда меня отправили на "дачу",
   Я б для тебя украл весь небосвод
   И две звезды Кремлевские в придачу.
  
   И я клянусь, последний буду гад...
   Не ври, не пей и я прощу измену.
   И подарю тебе Большой театр,
   И Малую спортивную арену.
  
   А вот теперь я к встрече не готов --
   Боюсь тебя, боюсь ночей интима,
   Как жители японских островов
   Боятся повторенья Хиросимы.
   1964
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
   Of Our Meeting....
   Translation Џ by Ilya Vinarsky
  
   Of our meeting - what is there to say?
   I waited for it, as they wait for a disaster,
   However, you and I began to live
   Without fear of the dire consequences.
  
   I narrowed down the circle of your friends,
   Clothed, shod, and pulled out of the dirt,
   However, behind you dragged the long tail,
   The long tail of your brief liaisons.
  
   Then, I remember, I beat up your friends,
   For some reason, I didn't like them,
   Although among them, there must have been
   Excellent guys, of this I am quite certain.
  
   Whatever you asked for - instantly I did,
   Each hour I wanted to turn into a wedding night.
   Because of you, I jumped beneath a train,
   Fortunately, I wasn't too successful.
  
   And had you waited for me the fateful year
   When I was sent to the "dacha",
   For you, I would have stolen the skyvault,
   And two stars from the Kremlin, in addition.
  
   And take my word, by all that is holy I swear,
   Don't lie, don't drink, and I'll forgive the betrayals,
   And give you the Bolshoi Theater as a gift,
   And the Little Sports Arena, as well.
  
   However, now I am not ready to meet you,
   I fear you, I fear the intimate nights,
   Like many Japanese
   Fear another Hiroshima.
  
   1964
  
  
   Somebody must have played a trick on me,
   I'm laughing, for it's like distorting mirrors, --
   Big noses, clown's grins, -- it seems to be
   A fancy-ball, or carnival in Venice.
  
   A dancing crowd has encircled me,
   They push me urging me to take my chances.
   My ordinary face, as I can see,
   Was taken for a mask by the rejoicing dancers.
  
   Confetti, fireworks... But all I do is vain,
   They look at me reproachfully, with sadness,
   The say that I am out of time again,
   That I keep stepping on the shoes of partners.
  
   What shall I do? Shall I just run away?
   Or had I better go on making merry?
   I hope beneath the masks of beasts of prey
   Some have a human face and normal bearing.
  
   They all are masked and "wigged", -- each is akin
   To fairy tale or literary figure
   Here is a hangman, there's a gloomy harlequin,
   And every third one is a stupid piggy.
  
   I join the dancers, laughing, yet I feel,
   Uneasy and disturbed: it may so happen, --
   Someone may like his hangman's mask and will
   Refuse to take it off and be quite happy.
  
   What if the gloomy looking harlequin
   Should really be disheartened and cast down?
   What if the fool should wear his stupid grin
   Upon his normal face, without a frown?
  
   I wish I could discern a really good face
   And tell an honest man from a dishonest ...
   To save their faces from a break-up and disgrace
   They put on masks and wear them in earnest.
  
   I know what masks are for, and I expect
   I'm right in guessing the ingenious riddle :
   The masks that people wear will protect
   Their faces from a slap and spittle.
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
   EXECUTION OF MOUNTAIN ECHO
   (translated by Alec Vagapov)
  
  
  
   In a mountain pass where the rocks for the winds are no
   checkers (no checkers),
   where no one has ever set foot, so steep is the rise
   (so steep is the rise),
   there once lived a jubilant cheerful mountain echo,
   it answered the calls and responded to cries, human cries.
    
    
   When loneliness suddenly fills our heart with despair
   (despair)
   and when a low sound of pain down the cliff is about to
   land (about to land),
   adroitly, the echo will pick up the call
   and handling with care
   will then make it louder and with solicitude take it in hand.
    
    
   Some scoundrels, crazy and drunk, must have gotten around
   (gotten around),
   in order that no one might hear the footfall and snort
   (footfall and snort),
   intending to silence and murder the gorge, living canyon,
   they bound
   the echo and stopped up its mouth before it was shot.
    
    
   And so it went on, their bloody ferocious enraged
   merrymaking,
   no sound was heard as they trampled the echo, made fun
   of it, mocked...
   They shot in the morning the quietened mountain echo (mountain echo)
    
   and tears gushed out like stones from the wounds of a rock...
    and tears gushed out like stones from the wounds of a rock...
    and tears gushed out like stones from the wounds of a rock...
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
   The City Romance
   (translated by Alec Vagapov)
  
  
   I happened to be walking around
   And I hurt two people by chance,
   They took me to militia grounds
   Where I saw her... and broke down at once.
  
   I knew not what on earth she was doing there,
   She was probably getting a pass.
   She was beautiful, lovely and fair...
   I decided to look for the lass.
  
  
  
   I just followed her, walking behind her,
   She wouldn't talk to a bully, I thought.
   Then I made up my mind to invite her
   To the nearest restaurant. Why not?
  
   As we walked people smiled at my pretty one,
   I was furious, my mind on the blink!
   I just smote the face of a weird man
   'Cause he dared to give her a wink.
  
   She found the caviar delicious,
   And I didn't grudge the expense,
   I ordered smash hits to musicians,
   And the last tune they played was "The Cranes".
  
   I made promises, showing my feeling,
   I repeated one thing the whole night:
   "For five days I haven't been stealing,
   Believe me, my love at first sight."
  
   I said that my life had been ruined,
   Blew my nose and wiped tears from my eyes,
   And she said: "I believe you, yours truly,
   You can take me at a reasonable price."
  
   I slapped her on the face in despair,
   I was boiling like crazy inside.
   Now I knew what she really was doing there,
   In militia, my love at first sight.
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
   * * * 
   (translated by Alec Vagapov)
    
  
   We were to meet. I waited for the day.
   It felt like waiting for a terrible disaster,
   But we began to live together right away,
   Without fearing what might come after.
    
   I got you out of gutter, dressed you, and
   I cut the number of your doubtful connections,
   You had a trail behind, without end,
   A long-long trail of casual relations.
    
   I battered, I recall, your so called friends,
   I don't know why, but I just didn't like them,
   Although there might have been, I sense,
   Nice fellows, genuine friends, among them.
    
   I'd do whatever you would ask me to.
   I wanted every hour to be night of wedding.
   One day I nearly killed myself for you,
   but my attempt, thank God, was unavailing.
    
   And if you'd waited for me on the year
   When I was driven to the "country-house",
   I would have stolen skies for you, my dear,
   and in addition stars from Kremlin towers.
    
   I'll give you anything, or I'll be damned!
   Don't drink, don't lie, and I'll forgive you, sinner!
   I'll give you Opera and Ballet and
   The smaller building of the Sports Arena.
    
   I'm not inclined to meet you now, my dove,
   I'm scared of our act of love occurring,
   The way the Japanese are scared of
   the horror of Hiroshima recurring.
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
   Владимир Высоцкий
   ПРОЩАНИЕ С ГОРАМИ
  
  
  
  
   В суету городов и в потоки машин
   Возвращаемся мы -- просто некуда деться
   И спускаемся вниз с покоренных вершин,
   Оставляя в горах,
   оставляя в горах свое сердце.
  
   Так оставьте ненужные споры.
   Я себе уже все доказал:
   Лучше гор могут быть только горы,
   На которых еще не бывал.
  
   Кто захочет в беде оставаться один?
   Кто захочет уйти, зову сердца не внемля?
   Но спускаемся мы с покоренных вершин...
   Что же делать, и боги спускались на землю.
  
   Так оставьте ненужные споры.
   Я себе уже все доказал:
   Лучше гор могут быть только горы,
   На которых еще не бывал.
  
   Сколько слов и надежд, сколько песен и тем
   Горы будят у нас и зовут нас остаться.
   Но спускаемся мы, кто на год, кто совсем,
   Потому что всегда мы должны возвращаться.
  
   Так оставьте ненужные споры.
   Я себе уже все доказал:
   Лучше гор могут быть только горы,
   На которых еще не бывал.
   1966
   Leaving The Mountains
  
   Translation Џ by Andrej Kneller
  
  
   To the scramble of cities and the crowded streets
   We return, for these places have bound us.
   We descend from the conquered mountain peaks,
   Leaving our hearts in the mountains.
  
  
   So, I beg you, just stop all the meaningless fights!
   Many times I have proven this speech,
   And to me, the one thing that is better than heights,
   Is the height that I haven't yet reached!
  
   Who would want to be left by all alone in a mix?
   To descend when the heart starts to revel? -
   Yet, we left from the conquered mountain peaks -
   Gods, themselves, desended from heaven.
  
   So, I beg you, just stop all the meaningless fights!
   Many times I have proven this speech,
   And to me, the one thing that is better than heights,
   Is the height that I haven't yet reached!
  
   Beautiful verses in their honour were penned
   And the mountains call us to stay.
   For a year or forever - but we have to descend,
   We must always return, either way.
  
   So, I beg you, just stop all the meaningless fights!
   Many times I have proven this speech,
   And to me, the one thing that is better than heights,
   Is the height that nobody has reached!
  
   1966
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
   SAYING GOOD-BYE TO THE MOUNTAINS
   (translated by Alec Vagapov)
  
  
   To the bustle of streets, flow of cars, traffic blocks
   To city life we return, we come back, as it happens.
   We descend from the conquered high mountaintops
   And we leave our hearts,
   and we leave our hearts in the mountains.
  
   There is no use to argue about it,
   I have known for a very long time:
   There is one thing that's better than mountains,
   And it's mountains that we haven't climbed.
  
   Who would want to be left in the lurch, with no hopes?
   Who would want to give in, his heart disobeyin'?
   We descend from the conquered high mountaintops...
   Nothing doing: gods, too, used to come down from heaven.
  
   There is no use to argue about it,
   I have known for a very long time:
   There is one thing that's better than mountains,
   And it's mountains that we haven't climbed.
  
   Many beautiful songs, many hopes, words of love
   Are inspired by mountains, they eternally call us.
   Yet we have to descend, for a year or for life
   For we have to return from the mountains... always.
  
   There is no use to argue about it,
   I have known for a very long time:
   There is one thing that's better than mountains
   And it's mountains that we haven't climbed.
  
  

Alexander Blok

Read and Compare

Literary translations done by different translators

(For analytical reading)

  
  
   Девушка пела в церковном хоре...
   Девушка пела в церковном хоре
   О всех усталых в чужом краю,
   О всех кораблях, ушедших в море,
   О всех, забывших радость свою.
  
   Так пел ее голос, летящий в купол,
   И луч сиял на белом плече,
   И каждый из мрака смотрел и слушал,
   Как белое платье пело в луче.
  
   И всем казалось, что радость будет,
   Что в тихой заводи все корабли,
   Что на чужбине усталые люди
   Светлую жизнь себе обрели.
  
   И голос был сладок, и луч был тонок,
   И только высоко, у Царских Врат,
   Причастный Тайнам,- плакал ребенок
   О том, что никто не придет назад.
  
   Август 1905
  
  
   ***

A girl sang in the church choir...

   Translators: Tatiana Tulchinsky, Andrew Wachtel, and Gwenan Wilbur
  
   A girl was singing in church's choir
   Of all the weary in foreign soil,
   Of all the ships that sailed the waters,
   Of all, who have forgotten their joy.
  
   So sang her voice, to cupola, reaching,
   And on white shoulder a dazzling ray,
   And in the dark each one harking and watching
   How the white dress did sing in the ray.
  
   It seemed to them that joy is up coming,
   That, all the ships, in the quiet berth,
   That all the weary in a foreign dwelling
   Found radiant life for themselves.
  
   And the voice was sweet, and the ray was tiny,
   And only up high, next to Royal gate,
   Privy to mysteries, -- a child was crying
   That nobody ever is coming back.
  
  
   "A Girl Sang a Song..."
  
   Translated by Yevgeny Bonver, October, 2000
   Edited by Dmitry Karshtedt, February, 2001
  
   A girl sang a song in the temple's chorus,
   About men, tired in alien lands,
   About the ships that left native shores,
   And all who forgot their joy to the end.
  
   Thus sang her clean voice, and flew up to the highness,
   And sunbeams shined on her shoulder's white --
   And everyone saw and heard from the darkness
   The white and airy gown, singing in the light.
  
   And all of them were sure, that joy would burst out:
   The ships have arrived at their beach,
   The people, in the land of the aliens tired,
   Regaining their bearing, are happy and reach.
  
   And sweet was her voice and the sun's beams around....
   And only, by Caesar's Gates -- high on the vault,
   The baby, versed into mysteries, mourned,
   Because none of them will be ever returned.
  
   ***
   Translated by Alec Vagapov
  
  
   The girl was singing in a church choir,
   About the weary abroad, far away,
   About the ships in the sea, so dire,
   And those who'd forgotten their happy day.
  
  
   So sweet was her voice flying up into highness
   With shimmering beam on her shoulder of white,
   And every one listened watching from darkness
   The way the white garment was singing in light.
  
  
   And every one thought that the joy was there,
   That the ships were all in a quiet bay,
   And the weary people abroad, full of care,
   Were now all blessed with a happy day.
  
  
   The voice was sweet, and the beam was shining,
   And only up there at the royal rack
   A child, conversant with secret, was crying
   That nobody, really, would ever come back.
  
   August, 1905
  
  
  
  
  
  
   ***
   Девушка пела в церковном хоре
   О всех усталых в чужом краю,
   О всех кораблях, ушедших в море,
   О всех, забывших радость свою.
  
   Так пел ее голос, летящий в купол,
   И луч сиял на белом плече,
   И каждый из мрака смотрел и слушал,
   Как белое платье пело в луче.
  
   И всем казалось, что радость будет,
   Что в тихой заводи все корабли,
   Что на чужбине усталые люди
   Светлую жизнь себе обрели.
  
   И голос был сладок, и луч был тонок,
   И только высоко, у Царских Врат,
   Причастный Тайнам,- плакал ребенок
   О том, что никто не придет назад.
  
   Август 1905
  
   More versions:
  
   ***
  
    Translated by Maya Jouravel
  
   A girl sang in the church choir
   Of all who are weary in foreign lands,
   Of all the ships gone out to sea,
   Of all who have forgotten their joy.
  
   Thus her voice sang, flying up to the dome,
   And a ray of sun shone on her white shoulder,
   And from the darkness all watched and listened
   As the white dress sang in the ray.
  
   And it seemed to all that joy would come,
   That all ships had reached shelter in peaceful harbors,
   That all weary people in foreign lands
   Had found themselves a serene life.
  
   And the voice was sweet, and the ray was thin,
   And only above, at the altar gates,
   In touch with Mystery, - a child wept
   Because no one will ever return...
  
   August 1905
  
   * * *
   Translated by Alex Sitnitsky
  
   A maiden was singing in a church, in a chorus
   About all tired in an alien land
   About all ships in the sea and all rovers
   Who almost forgot what it is -- to be glad.
  
  
   And, touching her shoulder, the beam was glistening.
   Her voice flew up to the dome. And, redeemed,
   Everyone there was watching and listening
   To the singing white dress in the slender sunbeam.
  
  
   It was seeming to them that joy came down
   And back-water rescued those wandering ships.
   And tired people in a foreign town
   Already slept with a smile on their lips.
  
  
   The voice was sweet and the beam was fine.
   But only at the King's Gate, where shadows are black,
   Privy to the sacraments a child was crying,
   Knowing that no one would come back.
  
  

  
  
  
   В ресторане
  
   At the Restaurant
   (translated by Alec Vagapov)
  
   Никогда не забуду (он был, или не был,
   Этот вечер): пожаром зари
   Сожжено и раздвинуто бледное небо,
   И на жёлтой заре - фонари.
  
   Я сидел у окна в переполненном зале.
   Где-то пели смычки о любви.
   Я послал тебе чёрную розу в бокале
   Золотого, как нёбо, аи.
  
   Ты взглянула. Я встретил смущённо и дерзко
   Взор надменный и отдал поклон.
   Обратясь к кавалеру, намеренно резко
   Ты сказала: "И этот влюблён".
  
  
  
   И сейчас же в ответ что-то грянули струны,
   Исступлённо запели смычки...
   Но была ты со мной всем презрением юным,
   Чуть заметным дрожаньем руки...
  
   Ты рванулась движеньем испуганной птицы,
   Ты прошла, словно сон мой легка...
   И вздохнули духи, задремали ресницы,
   Зашептались тревожно шелка.
  
  
   Но из глуби зеркал ты мне взоры бросала
   И, бросая, кричала: "Лови!.."
   А монисто бренчало, цыганка плясала
   И визжала заре о любви.
  
   19 апреля 1910
  
  
  
   In a Restaurant
   Translators: Tatiana Tulchinsky, Andrew Wachtel, and Gwenan Wilbur
  
   I'll never forget (did it happen, or not,
   That evening): the sunset's fire
   Consumed and split the pale sky,
   And streetlamps flared against the yellow sunset.
  
   I sat by the window in a crowded room.
   Distant bows were singing of love.
   I sent you a black rose in a goblet
   Of champagne, golden as the sky.
  
  
   You looked up. Embarrassed and bold, I met
   Your haughty gaze, gave a nod.
   To your suitor, deliberately abrupt,
   You said: "That one's in love, too."
  
  
   And strings rumbled in sudden answer,
   Bows sang out in a frenzy...
   But you were mine with all your youthful scorn
   And the with the slight trembling of your hand...
  
  
   You darted up like a startled bird
   And passed by, light as my dream...
   And your perfume wafted, your lashes drooped,
   Your skirts whispered anxiously.
  
  
   But from the mirror's depths you threw me a glance
   And your glance shouted "Catch me!"
   While rattling her necklace, a gypsy danced
   And screeched about love to the sunset.
  
   19 April 1910
  
   I will never forget it (did it happen-who cares?)
   Burnt and split by the sunset blaze
   Was the pallid celestial vast,  and some flares
   Came to light in  the yellow space.
  
   There I sat by the window,  in a crowded chamber.
   Fiddlesticks were singing again.
   And I sent you a flower, black rose, I remember,
   And a bottle of golden champagne.
  
   As you glanced, full of pride,  I was slightly  embarrassed,
   But I looked and I bowed from above.
   And addressing the man standing by, harsh and balanced,
   You said: "Oh, this one, too,  is in love".
  
   All at once  the guitars  started playing the song and
   Fiddlesticks played in  tune   with the band...
   But you were with me with your youthful dishonour,
   I could see by the move of your hand.
  
   And you dashed  like a bird as if suddenly roused,
   Passing by, like my dream you were light...
   And there came a sweet  fume,  and the eyelashes drowsed
   To the whisper of silk  in the night.
  
   Now and then from the mirror at me you'd be glancing
   As you did  "Catch it now" you would ask...
   And the jewellery  rattled, the gipsy  kept dancing
   And she screamed  of her  love to the dusk.
  
   April 19th, 1910
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

   Незнакомка
   The Unknown Lady
   Translated by Alec Vagapov

   По вечерам над ресторанами
   Горячий воздух дик и глух,
   И правит окриками пьяными
   Весенний и тлетворный дух.
  
   Вдали над пылью переулочной,
   Над скукой загородных дач,
   Чуть золотится крендель булочной,
   И раздается детский плач.
  
   И каждый вечер, за шлагбаумами,
   Заламывая котелки,
   Среди канав гуляют с дамами
   Испытанные остряки.
  
   Над озером скрипят уключины
   И раздается женский визг,
   А в небе, ко всему приученный
   Бесмысленно кривится диск.
  
   И каждый вечер друг единственный
   В моем стакане отражен
   И влагой терпкой и таинственной
   Как я, смирен и оглушен.
  
   А рядом у соседних столиков
   Лакеи сонные торчат,
   И пьяницы с глазами кроликов
   "In vino veritas!" кричат.
  
   И каждый вечер, в час назначенный
   (Иль это только снится мне?),
   Девичий стан, шелками схваченный,
   В туманном движется окне.
  
   И медленно, пройдя меж пьяными,
   Всегда без спутников, одна
   Дыша духами и туманами,
   Она садится у окна.
  
   И веют древними поверьями
   Ее упругие шелка,
   И шляпа с траурными перьями,
   И в кольцах узкая рука.
  
   И странной близостью закованный,
   Смотрю за темную вуаль,
   И вижу берег очарованный
   И очарованную даль.
  
   Глухие тайны мне поручены,
   Мне чье-то солнце вручено,
   И все души моей излучины
   Пронзило терпкое вино.
  
   И перья страуса склоненные
   В моем качаются мозгу,
   И очи синие бездонные
   Цветут на дальнем берегу.
  
   В моей душе лежит сокровище,
   И ключ поручен только мне!
   Ты право, пьяное чудовище!
   Я знаю: истина в вине.
  
   24 апреля 1906, Озерки
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

Unknown Woman

Translators: Tatiana Tulchinsky, Andrew Wachtel, and Gwenan Wilbur

  
  
   Above the restaurants in the evenings
   The sultry air is wild and still,
   And the decaying breath of spring
   Drives drunken shouting.
  
   Above the dusty distant lanes
   The boredom of summer homes,
   The baker's gold sign barely shines
   And a child's crying rings out.
  
   Each night, beyond the crossing gates,
   With bowler hats tipped rakishly,
   The practiced wits stroll with the ladies
   Among the drainage ditches.
  
   Out on the lake, oarlocks creak
   And a woman starts to squeal,
   While up in the sky, inured to it all,
   The moon's disk senselessly leers.
  
   Each night my solitary friend
   Is reflected in my glass,
   Made meek and reeling, like myself,
   By the mysterious, astringent liquid.
  
   And drowsy lackeys lounge about
   Beside the adjacent tables
   While drunks with rabbit eyes cry out
   "In vino veritas!"
  
   And each night at a certain hour
   (Or am I only dreaming it?),
   A girl's figure, swathed in silk,
   Moves across the misty window.
  
   And slowly passing among the drunks,
   Always alone and unescorted,
   Wafting a breath of perfume and mist,
   She takes a table by the window.
  
   And an air of ancient legend
   Wreaths her resilient silks,
   Her hat with its funereal plumes,
   And her slender ringed hand.
  
   And entranced by this strange nearness,
   I look through her dark veil,
   And see an enchanted shore
   And a horizon enchanted.
  
   Deep secrets are entrusted to me,
   Someone's sun is in my care,
   And at every turn, astringent wine
   Pierces my soul.
  
   And drooping ostrich plumes
   Waver in my brain,
   And fathomless blue eyes
   Bloom on the distant shore.
  
   A treasure lies in my soul,
   And the key belongs to me alone!
   You are correct, you drunken fiend!
   I know it: wine brings truth.
  
   24 April 1906, Ozerki
  
  
   The heated air in the restaurants
   Is wild and dull as anything,
   The drunken hails are ruled by restless
   And noxious spirit of the spring.
  
   Far off, beyond the dusty alley
   Over the boring country side
   There is a bakeshop, and the valley
   Resounds with crying of a child.
  
   And every night, beyond the barriers,
   Parading, cocking their hats,
   Amidst the ditches the admirers
   Perambulate with dear hearts.
  
   Above the lake the creak of ore-lock
   And women's screams impale the place,
   And in the sky, the moon disk warlock,
   Inanely smiling, makes a face.
  
   And every night, my friend appears
   As a reflection in my glass,
   Like me, he's stunned and set at ease
   By magic liquid, drunk en mass.
  
  
  
   The footmen, true to their habits,
   Relax at tables next to us,
   And drunkards, staring like rabbits,
   Exclaim: In vino veritas!
  
   And every evening at this hour
   (or is it just a dreamy case?)
   A waist in satin, like a flower,
   Moves past the window in the haze.
  
   Without drunken men to hinder,
   Alone, she walks across the room
   And settles down by the window
   Exhaling fog and sweet perfume.
  
   There is a kind of old times flavour
   About her silky clothes and things:
   Her hat, in mourning plumes as ever,
   Her hand and fingers, all in rings.
  
   I feel her close (a strange emotion),
   And looking through the veil, I see
   The vast of an amazing ocean,
   The coast of an amazing sea.
  
   I am informed of inmost secrets,
   Somebody's sun is now all mine,
   My body, heart and soul, in sequence,
   Have all been pierced by the wine.
  
  
   The ostrich plumes, desired and welcome,
   Are gently swaying in my mind,
   And dark blue eyes, as deep as welkin,
   Are blooming on the distant side.
  
   Deep in my soul I have some riches
   And I'm the one who has the key!
   You're right, you heady monstrous creature!
   In vino veritas, I see.
  
  
   April 24th, 1906, Ozerki
  
   Note

1. In vino veritas - the truth is in wine (Latin)

  
  
  
  
  

О доблестях, о подвигах, о славе...

Translators: Tatiana Tulchinsky, Andrew Wachtel, and Gwenan Wilbur

   ***
   (translated by Alec Vagapov)

   О доблестях, о подвигах, о славе
   Я забывал на горестной земле,
   Когда твое лицо в простой оправе
   Перед мной сияло на столе.
  
  
   Но час настал, и ты ушла из дому.
   Я бросил в ночь заветное кольцо.
   Ты отдала свою судьбу другому,
   И я забыл прекрасное лицо.
  
   Летели дни, крутясь проклятым роем...
   Вино и страсть терзали жизнь мою...
   И вспомнил я тебя пред аналоем,
   И звал тебя, как молодость свою...
  
  
   Я звал тебя, но ты не оглянулась,
   Я слезы лил, но ты не снизошла.
   Ты в синий плащ печально завернулась,
   В сырую ночь ты из дому ушла.
  
   Не знаю, где приют твоей гордыне
   Ты, милая, ты, нежная, нашла...
   Я крепко сплю, мне снится плащ твой синий,
   В котором ты в сырую ночь ушла...
  
  
   Уж не мечтать о нежности, о славе,
   Все миновалось, молодость прошла!
   Твое лицо в его простой оправе
   Своей рукой убрал я со стола.
  
   30 декабря 1908
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
    ***
   Translators: Tatiana Tulchinsky, Andrew Wachtel, and Gwenan Wilbur
  
  
   All valor I forgot and noble deeds
   And glory on this grief-filled earth,
   While in a simple frame your face
   Glowed before me on the desk.
  
   The hour arrived, you left the house.
   I flung the cherished ring into the night.
   You pledged yourself to someone else,
   And I forgot your lovely face.
  
  
   The days flew by, a cursed swirling swarm...
   Liquor and passion tortured my existence...
   I recollected you inside the church,
   Called out to you as I would to my youth...
  
  
   I called. You would not look around,
   I wept, but you were pitiless.
   Sadly you wrapped yourself in a sky blue cloak
   Went out the door into the damp night.
  
   I do not know, my sweet and tender one
   Where you found shelter for your pride...
   I sleep quite soundly, and I dream about the cloak
   You wore, as you went out into the night...
  
  
   I dream no more of tenderness or glory,
   They all have passed, my youth is gone!
   With my own hand I've taken off my desk
   Your face, inside its simple frame.
  
   30 December 1908
  
  
   I would forget about courage, winning,
   About   glory   in the grievous land
   When I looked up to see your portrait beaming
   In  an uncomely frame I had at hand.
  
   The time had come and you left home for ever.
   I threw the cherished  ring into the night.
   You gave your destiny to someone in your favour,
   And I forgot your charming face all right.
  
   Days,  like a hateful  swarm,  flew by, a-whirling ,
   By passion and  carouse my life was done...
   And I remembered you before the lectern, darling,
   I called you like my youth,  now  past and gone.
  
   I called your name but somehow you looked down,
   I cried - you didn't care about my mood;
   You wrapped yourself up in a dark blue gown,
   It was wet night when you left home for good.
  
   My love, I don't know where you've settled down
   And where you've found a shelter for your pride..
   I'm fast asleep, and I can see the gown
   You were wearing as you left home that night.
   To dream about caress  I won"t be able
   For youth  is past and gone,  along with fame!
   So I have put your portrait off the table,
   Your lovely face in an uncomely  frame!
  
   December 30th, 1908
  
  
  
  
   Francois Villon
   Translated by Yevgeny Bonver
  
   While Earth is still turning around,
   While light is still warming and bright,
   I pray you, my Lord, give just everyone,
   What everyone hasn't on his side:
  
   A head - give him who's always clever,
   A horse - give a coward - to flee,
   Give money him, who's now happy...
   And don't be forgetful of me.
  
   While Earth is still turning around,
   -- My Lord, it's for you to decide! -
   Let him, who is craving for power,
   Enjoy it until his is glut.
  
   Give breather a man, open-handed,
   At least, his day's evening to see.
   Let Cain have his utter repentance...
   And don't be forgetful of me.
  
   I know that you are almighty,
   Believe to that wisdom of yours,
   As solders believe - those killed ones -
   That they live the Eden indoors,
  
   As always believes every ear
   Your quiet admonishes to,
   As all we believe to our actions,
   Not knowing ev'n what we do.
  
   Oh, God! Oh, my Master, almighty!
   Oh, You of the evergreen eyes!
   While Earth is still turning around -
   That's strange and to her and to us, -
  
   While she has enough of the fire
   And time for us farther to be,
   Give everyone even a little...
   And don't be forgetful of me.
  
  
  
   Little Joyful Drummer
   Translated by Yevgeny Bonver
   Get up early, get up early in the summer,
   When a dvornik's looming up before your gates,
   You will see then, you will see then, that the little joyful drummer
   Takes the easy maple drum-sticks with his hands.
  
   It'll be noon, that's full of common bustle and humming,
   Rings of trams and people's flood of awful speed,
   But just hark, and you will hear, that the little joyful drummer
   Goes with his drum along the town's street.
  
   It'll be eve, which is the plotter and sly charmer,
   And the dark will fall on stones by your feet,
   But just look, and you will see then, that the little joyful drummer
   Goes with his drum along the town's street.
  
   The drum-sticks tell tales without stop and stammer
   Through a middle of night, and smoke, and bedlam...
   Do you, really, not hear that the little joyful drummer
   Does convey along the streets his timeless drum?
  
   1957
  
  
   The Midnight Trolley Bus
   Translated by Yevgeny Bonver
   When I am besieged with despair and reprove,
   Because can't stop fatal disaster,
   I enter a blue trolley bus at his move -
   That's here by chance and the last one.
  
   Oh, bus of midnight, speed along sleeping streets,
   Fill them with your endless rotation
   To pick up all people whose lives, like poor ships,
   Were wrecked by the fatal occasions.
  
   Oh, bus of midnight, open your noiseless doors,
   I know: in changeable darkness,
   Your passengers, silent, - the sailors of yours -
   Come always to help in unluckiness.
  
   With them I'd leave often my woes behind,
   I used to touch them with my shoulders,
   Imagine, how much of the goodness and kind -
   In silence which over them hovers.
  
   Our bus sails through Moscow, sunk in midnight,
   Like rivers - it loses its fires,
   This pain-starling, striking my whiskeys inside, -
   It slowly tires - it tires.
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

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