Three Translations of Irina Mashinski’s “Simpler Times”

Also in Translations:

Three Translations of Irina Mashinski's "Simpler Times"
Three Translations of Irina Mashinski's "Simpler Times"

Пришли простые времена,
а мы еще витиеваты.
Раскрой глаза, идет война,
растерянно идут солдаты.

Three English versions (February-March 2022)

In 2000, it seemed to me that everything suddenly became b/w, very clear. I titled my book (with a b/w cover): SIMPLER TIMES.

In 2022, Robert Chandler and Maria Bloshteyn created two different English versions of this poem, and I added one more. I borrowed the second line from Robert Chandler’s translation.

It’s back to abc’s once more,
yet we still parse and gloss.
Open your eyes: we are at war—
the soldiers slog on, lost.

Translated by Maria Bloshteyn
~ ~ ~
It’s simpler now. Just life or death.
No time for metaphor.
The face of war. Bewildered youths
who don’t know what they’re fighting for.

Translated by Robert Chandler
~ ~ ~
Simpler times arrived. No use,
no time for metaphor.
It’s black and white. A war that lasts,
the soldiers trudge on, lost.
Translated by the author

About the Author:

Irina Mashinski photo by Golitsyna
photo by Golitsyna
Irina Mashinski
Pennsylvania, USA

Irina Mashinski is the author The Naked World and Giornata and of eleven books of poetry and essays in Russian. She is co-editor, with Robert Chandler and Boris Dralyuk, of The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry (2015) Her poetry has been translated into several languages and has appeared in Poetry International, World Literature Today, and elsewhere.

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