Also in Poetry:

Блок иллюстрация. (1)
Alexander Blok. Two Poems.


Ночь, улица, фонарь, аптека,
Бессмысленный и тусклый свет.
Живи еще хоть четверть века
Все будет так. Исхода нет.

Умрешь—начнешь опять сначала,
И повторится все, как встарь:
Ночь, ледяная рябь канала,
Аптека, улица, фонарь.

10 октября 1912


Night, street, streetlight, a pharmacy.
A senseless, drab light all about.
Live twenty-five more years and see,
Nothing will change. There’s no way out.

Die and you will restart it all
As long ago. Things will repeat:
Night, icy ripple of a canal,
Streetlight, the pharmacy, the street.

Translated from Russian by A.Z. Foreman. This translation was first published in “Poems Found in Translation”.


* * *

Дома растут, как желанья,
Но взгляни внезапно назад:
Там, где было белое зданье,
Увидишь ты черный смрад.

Так все вещи меняют место,
Неприметно уходят ввысь.
Ты, Орфей, потерял невесту, —
Кто шепнул тебе — «Оглянись…»?

Я закрою голову белым,
Закричу и кинусь в поток.
И всплывет, качнется над телом
Благовонный, речной цветок.

5 ноября 1902


Houses rise like wishes,
But suddenly you look back:
Where you saw white niches,
You see only detritus, black.

Thus everything shifts and changes,
Imperceptibly flies away.
You, Orphée, lost your bride to Hades.
Who whispered to you “look astray”?

With white my head I will cover,
I’ll scream and plunge in a stream.
And a riverine fragrant flower
Above my body will rise a-gleam.

Translated from Russian by Nina Kossman. This translation was first published in “Silo” (Bennington College annual literary journal, 1980).

About the Author:

Блок (1)
Alexander Blok
St. Petersburg, Russia

Alexander Blok (November 28, 1880, Saint Petersburg – August 7, 1921, Saint Petersburg) was one of the greatest Russian poets. He was a major poet of Russian Symbolism. He was also a playwright, translator, and literary critic.

Alexander Blok Александр Блок
by Ian Probstein

A new collection of poems by Ian Probstein. (In Russian)

by Ilya Perelmuter (editor)

Launched in 2012, “Four Centuries” is an international electronic magazine of Russian poetry in translation.

by Ilya Ehrenburg

Ilya Ehrenburg (1891–1967) was one of the most prolific Russian writers of the twentieth century.  Babi Yar and Other Poems, translated by Anna Krushelnitskaya, is a representative selection of Ehrenburg’s poetry, available in English for the first time.

by William Conelly

Young readers will love this delightful work of children’s verse by poet William Conelly, accompanied by Nadia Kossman’s imaginative, evocative illustrations.

by Maria Galina

A book of poems by Maria Galina, put together and completed exactly one day before the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This is Galina’s seventh book of poems. With translations by Anna Halberstadt and Ainsley Morse.

by Aleksandr Kabanov

The first bilingual (Russian-English) collection of poems by Aleksandr Kabanov, one of Ukraine’s major poets, “Elements for God” includes poems that predicted – and now chronicle – Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

Three Questions. A Documentary by Vita Shtivelman
Play Video
Poetry Reading in Honor of Brodsky’s 81st Birthday
Length: 1:35:40