Boris Khersonsky. Wisdom floats in a sea of sorrow like an ancient fish
Boris Khersonsky. Wisdom floats in a sea of sorrow like an ancient fish
Art by William Turner
Boris Khersonsky. Wisdom floats in a sea of sorrow like an ancient fish

где вы евреи леванта где мудрецы мегриба
где богословы несравненной каппадокии
мудрость плавает в море печали как древняя рыба
почти что четвероногая раньше были такие

раньше были писцы считавшие буквы в слове
и комментаторы толковали не смысл а числа
потому что смысл похоронен в земле в основе
а бессмыслица радугой над головой повисла

каждый охотник желает знать где сидят фазаны
каждый охотник идет напролом с ружьем заряженным дробью
каждый каратель желает знать где сидят партизаны
каждый глупец считает что создан по образу и подобью

каждый считает что его из праха земного
лепил Предвечный Мастер своими руками
и рыба мудрости в море печали помедлив немного
уплывает от нас шевеля четырьмя плавниками

* * *

Where are you jews of the levant the wise men of megrib
where are you theologians of incomparable cappadocia
wisdom floats in a sea of sorrow like an ancient fish
four-legged fish of the past must have looked like this

there used to be scribes who counted letters in words
and commentators who interpreted numbers instead of meaning
because the meaning is buried in the ground
and nonsense hangs like a rainbow overhead

every hunter wants to know where the pheasants sit
every hunter goes ahead with a loaded shotgun
every punisher wants to know where the partisans hide
every fool thinks he was created in the image and the likeness

everyone believes the Eternal Master sculpted him
from the dust of the earth with his own hands
and the fish of wisdom in a sea of sorrow hesitates
floating away from us moving its four fins

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
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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