Mikhail Yudovsky. They Bomb Me from Afar. Translated by Dmitri Manin

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Mikhail Yudovsky. They Bomb Me from Afar. Translated by Dmitri Manin
Mikhail Yudovsky. Dnieper Lavra.
Mikhail Yudovsky. They Bomb Me from Afar. Translated by Dmitri Manin

They bomb me from afar, although

here, all is quiet and still:

the silent stream, the silent grove,

the sky above the hill.

It seems as if year, week and hour

crouch in a catacomb.

And though they bomb me from afar,

each strike is hitting home.

A shock of electricity –

I feel as if I’m lost,

and this quiet town in Germany

looks almost like a ghost.

Between us, friends, through hill and plain

runs a connecting line.

But I dare not compare your pain,

your dreadful pain, with mine.

Because I live in foreign lands,

I feel, day after day,

a mix of guilt, powerlessness, angst

for being far away

from my Ukraine whose armor lets

the whole world carry on,

while where I live, I’m but a guest

who might as well be gone.

And all the time the same, same thought

bores tunnels in my mind.

And I can hear blasts rumbling – not

in town, but deep inside.

But I’ll be useful, I’ll pull through

to help you… I believe,

admire you and take pride in you.

I love you. And I grieve.

Please do not break my lifeline to

you, while I grow my pain.

I may forgive myself, if you

forgive me, my Ukraine.

* * *

Меня бомбят издалека,

хотя вокруг покой —

молчит земля, молчит река

и небо над рекой.

Часы, недели и века

как будто скрылись в щель.

Меня бомбят издалека,

но попадают в цель.

По телу пробегает ток,

и видится с трудом

немецкий тихий городок,

похожий на фантом.

Друзья, нас поперек и вдоль

одна связала нить.

Но боль мою и вашу боль

не смею я сравнить.

Вдали от собственной страны

я ощущаю смесь

бессилья, гнева и вины

за то, что я не здесь —

не в Украине, чья броня

собой закрыла свет,

а там, где, кажется, меня

уже в помине нет.

И мысли только об одном,

хоть мозг до дыр сотри.

И слышен взрыв — не за окном,

а где-то там, внутри.

Но, может, я еще сгожусь,

я всё еще стерплю…

Я восхищаюсь. Я горжусь.

Я плачу. Я люблю.

Страна, не рви со мною нить,

пока я боль ращу.

Прости меня. И — может быть —

я сам себя прощу.

March 3, 2022

About the Author:

Mikhail Yudovsky
Mikhail Yudovsky
Frankenthal, Germany

Mikhail Yudovsky was born in Kiev in 1966. Artist, poet, prose writer, translator. His poetry and prose have been published in Russian-language publications in many countries. His paintings were shown in many solo and group exhibitions. Nearly two hundred of his works are in museums and private collections around the world. He lives and works in Germany since 1992.

About the Translator:

Dmitri Manin
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.

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