Also in Poetry:

Alexander Blok. Two Poems.
Alexander Blok. Two Poems.

НОЧЬ, УЛИЦА, ФОНАРЬ, АПТЕКА

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:

Alexander Blok
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.

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Alexander Blok Александр Блок
Bookshelf
by Victor Enyutin

A book of poems in Russian by Victor Enyutin (San Francisco, 1983). Victor  Enyutin is a Russian writer, poet, and sociologist who emigrated to the US from the Soviet Union in 1975.

by Anna Krushelnitskaya

This collection of personal essays by a bi-national Russian/U.S. author offers glimpses into many things Soviet and post-Soviet: the sacred, the profane, the mundane, the little-discussed and the often-overlooked. What was a Soviet school dance like? Did communists go to church? Did communists listen to Donna Summer? If you want to find out, read on!

by Anna Krushelnitskaya

“Cold War Casual” is a collection of transcribed oral testimony and interviews translated from Russian into English and from English into Russian that delve into the effect of the events and the government propaganda of the Cold War era on regular citizens of countries on both sides of the Iron Curtain.

by Julia Wiener

Julia Wiener was born in the USSR a few years before the Second World War; her youth was spent during the “Thaw” period, and her maturity coincided with the years of “Soviet stagnation”, which, in her case, ended with her emigration to Israel in the early 1970s. Her wartime childhood, her Komsomol-student youth, her subsequent disillusionment, her meetings with well-known writers (Andrei Platonov, Victor Nekrasov, etc.) are described in a humorous style and colorful detail. Julia brings to life colorful characters – from her Moscow communal apartment neighbors to a hippie London lord, or an Arab family, headed by a devotee of classical Russian literature. No less diverse are the landscapes against which the events unfold: the steppes of Kazakhstan, the Garden of Gethsemane, New York, Amsterdam, London.

by Julia Wiener

Julia Wiener’s novels focus on those moments when illusory human existence collapses in the face of true life, be it spiritual purity, love, old age, or death.

by Nina Kossman

A collection of poems in Russian. Published by Khudozhestvennaya literatura. Moscow, 1990.

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