Ночью дрогнет летевшая к морю рука,
Тронет тапочек, к полу прижавший затылок,
И вскочу, как наткнувшись на слово тоска
В книге – вправду тоскуя сто тысячью жилок.
Что бы сделать? Не чёрту ли душу продать,
Чтобы разные жизни за жизнь повидать?
Чем бы быстро заесть неожиданный вкус
Ночи-глины, в которую я превращусь?
Выпью кофе – и новая мысль обожжёт:
Пока ночь нерушима и время идёт,
Как бессильна печаль перед силою сил,
Перед радостью сонных развернутых крыл!
~ ~ ~
My hand, flying seaward, will tremble at night,
touch a slipper that’s resting its head on the floor,
and I’m startled – as when, in a book, I catch sight
of “despair” … and it seeps into my very core.
What to do? Call the devil and trade in my soul
for a tour of new lives while I live? How I yearn
to wash down this flavor – so sudden, so dull –
of the clay of the night, into which I will turn…
I drink coffee – and then a new thought scalds my mind:
while night doesn’t break and time runs on its course,
sorrow loses its power when faced with that force,
with the joy of two somnolent wings spreading wide!
Translated from Russian by Boris Dralyuk
Julia Nemirovskaya was part of Kovaldzhi’s Seminar and Poetry Club New Wave Poets. She published several collections of verse and short stories, a novel, and a book on Russian Cultural History (with McGrow-Hill, 1997, 2001). Her work appeared in Znamya, LRS, GLAS, Asymptote, Vozdukh, Novyi Bereg, Okno, Stanford Literary Magazine, etc. in Russian, French, English, and Bulgarian. She is currently teaching and directing student’s theater at the University of Oregon.
Boris Dralyuk is the Editor in Chief of the Los Angeles Review of Books. He is co-editor (with Robert Chandler and Irina Mashinski) of The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry, editor of 1917: Stories and Poems from the Russian Revolution and Ten Poems from Russia, and translator of Isaac Babel, Mikhail Zoshchenko, and other authors. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The New York Review of Books, The Hopkins Review, The New Criterion, The Yale Review, First Things, The Georgia Review, and elsewhere, and his collection My Hollywood and Other Poems will be published by Paul Dry Books in April 2022.
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.