* * *
Покоя нет ни с ней, ни без неё,
Издёрганная суть противоречий
Разлука так мучительна как встреча,
И в прошлом безмятежное спаньё.
И просыпаюсь я от губ тепла,
И всюду чувствую тебя и слышу,
И делаю фантазией бесстыжей,
И строчками, которым нет числа.
Но ты всё ускользаешь, как недуг,
Бегущий от попыток излеченья,
Надеждою, хрустящей как печенье,
Летишь под ноги из горячих рук.
Но ты меня сжигаешь, как напалм
Вьетнамскую несчастную деревню,
А я забрёл в усталость, как в харчевню,
И из неё смотрю, как строят храм.
~ ~ ~
No peace for me, not with her, nor without her
It’s an old paradox, it’s vexed and here is why:
Leaving her is as painful as our meeting
And in the past are sleep and quiet nights.
Each morning your warm lips kiss me awake,
I feel you and I hear you everywhere,
And in my fantasy you have as little shame
As in the endless lines that you inspire.
But then you keep escaping like a malady
That can evade all our attempts to cure it.
A sliver of hope as brittle as a wafer,
You slip my feverish hands, fall by my feet.
And you burn me up as Napalm burned
That war-doomed village back in Vietnam
I seek relief in the exhaustion that’s my tavern
And from that place I watch a temple being built.
Translated by Josephine von Zitzewitz
Andrey Selin was born in Kherson, in 1964. He graduated from the Music Conservatory in Odessa. He works at the Odessa Opera Theater and at the Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra as a concertmaster of double basses. He is the author of a book of poems Windows, and his poems are regularly published in Russian-language periodicals and on the Internet.
Josephine von Zitzewitz is a scholar of Russian literature and translator specializing in Russian poetry. After working at the Universities of Oxford, Bristol, and Cambridge (UK) she is presently Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellow at UIT The Arctic University of Norway.
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.
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 Room, Poem 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.