Boris Khersonsky. For Alexander Roitburd (1961-2021)
Boris Khersonsky. For Alexander Roitburd (1961-2021)
Alexander Roitburd. From the cycle "Grigoryi Skovoroda" (mixed media, 1986)
Boris Khersonsky. For Alexander Roitburd (1961-2021)

A rabbi in heaven sits on a golden throne.
On his left shoulder sits Moses, on his right shoulder, Aaron,
they whisper wisdom in his ears from both sides,
this is the oral Torah, the unbreakable law.

A kosher fish swims in a river of honey.
A cloud of milk grazes in a cloud of meat in the distance.
No one dares to boil a baby goat again in the milk
of a hussy goat bought for pennies at a town fair.

It was a good fair, and the town was not bad at all,
and its goat was a good, milking floozy,
and its synagogue was wide and east-facing,
and its mustachioed policeman sported a whistle in his crooked teeth.

Now they are all here, in the sky, where the challah is laid out on the table,
and yet I wonder about what’s left down there on earth,
how are the neighbors’ children, are they well off and warm,
do they still find gold crowns in the ashes.

If they do, they probably believe they are lucky!
A girl leans on her paddle in a park where the cemetery used to be.
In a synagogue, there’s a dance club or maybe a church—Christ is Risen.
Pity that from your heaven you cannot see these details.

Translated from Russian by Nina Kossman 

About the Author:

Boris Khersonsky
Boris Khersonsky
Odessa, Ukraine

Boris Khersonsky was born in Chernivtsi in 1950. Khersonsky has published over nineteen collections of poetry and essays in Russian, and most recently, in Ukrainian. He is widely regarded as one of Ukraine’s most prominent Russian-language poets.

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Boris Khersonsky Борис Херсонский
Bookshelf
by Gari Light

These English poems by Gari have the same energy and elegance as his Russian poems, and they are enriched by his multilayered, polyphonic use of the English language to express thoughts and feelings with sophistication and humor.

by Marina Tsvetaeva. Translated by Nina Kossman.

This new edition by Shearsman Press (UK) contains translations of Marina Tsvetaeva’s narrative poems (поэмы). They can be seen as markers of various stages in her poetic development, ranging from the early, folk-accented On a Red Steed to the lyrical-confessional Poem of the Mountain and Poem of the End to the more metaphysical later poems, An Attempt at a RoomPoem of the Mountain, a beautiful requiem for Rainer Maria Rilke, New Year’s Greetings, and Poem of the Air, a stirring celebration of Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight and the quest for the soul’s freedom. These translations were first published by Ardis in 1998 and reprinted by Overlook in 2004 and 2009. The current edtion was published by Shearsman Press (UK) in 2021.

 

 

 

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