Alma Naivny. Translated by Simon Patlis

Also in Translations:

Alma Naivny. Translated by Simon Patlis
Sketch for "Deluge I" by Vassily Kandinsky (Norton Simon Museum)
Alma Naivny. Translated by Simon Patlis



And at that moment when the ringing silence
Could fill eternity within a millimeter
The howling flaming shapes of my sweet country
Inhabiting my dreams will quiet down
And life will start again inside an instant
Just long enough for me to fall in love
Once more for this protracted story
To be deserving of the finest films
I’ll fix the past as if I were allowed
To alter it impossible just to
Repent and pray to God and little by little
Seek path to light a beam a tunnel an oval
When you are rushed into the world the womb
Will be remembered by you as home
That was destroyed in flames of Nero’s envy
But then restored although it wasn’t easy
This endless instant suddenly turns to ashes
When they escort you from the building to be shot
I write and do not know who else would dare
Write of the publicans who are now at the top

March 2022


И в тот момент когда звенящей тишины
Хватило бы на вечность в миллиметре
Затихнет вой и пламя геометрий
Моей прекрасной снящейся страны
И жизнь начнётся втиснута в момент
Где я успею снова лишь влюбиться
Чтобы эта длинная страница
Была достойна лучших кинолент
Исправлю прошлое как будто бы кто дал
Его исправить невозможно Богу
Лишь каяться и только понемногу
Искать путь к свету луч туннель овал
Когда несёшься в новый мир и лоно
Ты станешь вскоре вспомнить как дом
Потом сожжённый завистью Нерона
И восстановленный хотя с трудом
И эта вечная секунда вдруг в труху
Когда выводят из многоэтажки на расстрел
Пишу не зная кто б ещё посмел
Писать о тех кто нынче мытари вверху

март 2022

* * *

The pontiff, between shutters, feeds the birds
Like Herod, he is cruel, old, and sour
An imaginary omnipresent power
Rome never has had any borders
But doves’ affairs are nothing but manure
That – or stigmata when he dreams of Him
As all the courtier foes will know for sure
A baleful bird behind the glass… it seems
A soul flew through an open window
A rustle of heavy feathers… In or out?
A clown guardsman dressed like a circus weirdo
The pontiff’s face is in anguish born of doubt.
Leave now, everyone! Parkinson’s blessing:
The Pope’s staff falls – the chain is broken up
The sound of glass and drops of blood on feathers
And a dove looks on with the eye of Beelzebub

Понтифик между ставень кормит птиц
И стар и болен и жесток как Ирод
Воображаемая власть над миром
У Рима не было и нет границ
Но голубиные дела всегда помёт
Или стигматы если Он приснится
И свита недругов в дверях поймёт
Зловещая сквозь стёкол птица
Душа влетит в окна просвет
Или навылет шорох от тяжёлых перьев
Гвардеец-клоун цирковой берет
Лицо понтифика в тоске безверья
Уйдите все и паркинсон благословил
И падает с оборванной цепи ферула
И дребезг стёкол капля крови с крыл
И голубь смотрит взглядом Вельзевула

* * *

Water’s restless swirls
The bottom’s dark aquamarine
My ocean shrouded in the dark
Devours a dying evening beam
The water’s bouncy and free
Where the bridge is just a taut rope
And the waves are rolling to the rhythm
I’m a king a god a slave a worm
The raging nature of the tide
Dictates its unrelenting beat
In the abyss my world is sunk
I’m but a soldier of the sea
For me a foamy epilogue
My own bipolar ocean wrote
Not Ulysses the ancient rogue
I’m a slave a worm a king a god

Вода в тревожных завитках
Аквамарин поддонной черни
Мой океан почти впотьмах
Глотает тусклый луч вечерний
Вода упруга и вольна
Где мост натянутая вервь
И гонит мерная волна
Я царь я Бог я раб я червь
Диктует водный метроном
Прилива яростное cвойство
Мой век в пучину погружён
Я лишь солдат морского войска
Мой биполярный океан
Мне пишет пенный эпилог
Не Одиссей седой буян
Я раб я червь я царь я Бог

About the Author:

Alma Naivny
Alma Naivny
New York, USA

According to Alma Naivny, Alma Naivny never existed.

About the Translator:

Simon Patlis
Simon Patlis
San Diego, USA

Simon Patlis grew up in the former Soviet Union (first in Tashkent, later in Kishinev.) Since moving to the US in 1991, he’s lived in San Diego, CA. Mathematician by education, he works as an IT consultant. He has been writing poetry since childhood and translates English and Russian poetry (English to Russian, Russian to English). He is the author of “Duda”, published in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, in 2006. His work was published in “The Notebook. A Collection of Contemporary Russian Poetry in North America” (“Общая Тетрадь”, Moscow, 2007), as well as in other collections and almanacs of poetry published over the years in Russia and the US.

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