Alexander Melnik. Even the Dead are in Danger. Translated by Dmitri Manin
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Alexander Melnik. Even the Dead are in Danger. Translated by Dmitri Manin

Falling raindrops leave no visible traces,

not on the glass of my window, not on the temple wall,

but once in a while water goes mad and races

to wash away bridges, flood the market and city hall.

For thousands of years down to the sea the river

of time rolls on, never to be the same,

but the temple of Artemis has been attached forever

as if with a knot in our memory to Herostratos’ name.

A muddy stream rushed from the northern ranges

Down to the south, inundating the sleeping Ukraine.

Mother, wake up! even the dead are in danger:

bombs rain down and tear to pieces your graveyard plain.

Again Herostratos, malice convulsing his face,

curses the temple and spitefully strikes the flint.

A drop of rain decided to leave a trace

and slid down the glass as a drip with a bloody tint.

The Original:
Капля дождя не оставляет следа

ни на моём окне, ни на стене собора,

но иногда сходит с ума вода –

сносит с пути мосты и заливает город

Тысячи лет катится к морю река

времени – для неё в прошлое нет возврата,

но храм Артемиды в памяти на века

связан морским узлом с именем Герострата.

Мутный поток с северной кручи на юг

ринулся, затопив спящую Украину.

Мама, проснись – умершим тоже каюк,

бомбы крушат твою кладбищенскую долину.

Вновь Герострат, злобою перегрет,

храм обругал и мстительно чиркнул спичкой.

Капля дождя решила оставить след

и по стеклу кровавой стекла водичкой.

About the Author:

1. Alexandre Melnik(1)
Alexander Melnik
Liege, Belgium

Poet, prose writer, essayist, and president of “The Emigré Lyre” [Rus.”Эмигрантская лира”/”Emigrantskaya lira”] association. Founder and editor-in-chief of the magazine with the same name. He has lived in Belgium since 2000.

About the Translator:

manin_2021 (1)
Dmitri Manin
California, USA

Dmitri Manin is a physicist, programmer, and translator of poetry. His translations from English and French into Russian have appeared in several book collections. His latest work is a complete translation of Ted Hughes’ “Crow” (Jaromír Hladík Press, 2020) and Allen Ginsberg’s “The Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems” (Podpisnie Izdaniya, 2021). Dmitri’s Russian-to-English translations have been published in journals (Cardinal Points, Delos, The Café Review, Metamorphoses etc) and in Maria Stepanova’s “The Voice Over” (CUP, 2021). In 2017, his translation of a poem by Stepanova won the Compass Award competition.

Alexander Melnik Александр Мельник
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