Laura Riding’s “Helen’s Faces”. Translated by Dmitri Manin

Also in Translations:

11Helen of Troy. Canova, Antonio (1)
Helen of Troy, by Antonio Canova (1757-1822)
Laura Riding's "Helen's Faces". Translated by Dmitri Manin

HELEN’S FACES

Bitterly have I been contested for,
Though never have I counted numbers–
They were too many, less than all.
And kindly have I warded off
Contest and bitterness,
Given each a replica of love,
Beguiled them with fine images.

To their hearts they held them.
Her dear face, its explicitness!
Clearly, of all women, the immediate one
To these immediate men.

But the original woman is mythical,
Lies lonely against no heart.
Her eyes are cold, see love far off,
Read no desertion, when love removes
The images out of fashion.

Undreamed of in her many faces
That each kept off the plunderer:
Contest and bitterness never raged round her.

 

ЛИКИ ЕЛЕНЫ

Бились за меня жестоко,
Сколько точно, не знаю, не считала:
Много было их, хоть и не все.
Мягко я отводила
Соперничество и ревность,
Каждому слепок любви давала,
Чаровала прекрасной личиной.

К сердцу они прижимали
Милый лик в его очевидности!
Вот ведь самая близкая из женщин
Для этих мужей недалеких.

Но настоящая женщина — миф,
Одинока, к сердцу не прижата.
Очи холодны, видят любовь вдалеке,
Предательства не видят, когда личины
У любви выходят из моды.

Невообразима за своими ликами,
Каждый — как щит от мародеров;
Соперничество и ревность до нее не касались.

About the Author:

Laua-Riding
Laura Riding
USA

Laura Riding Jackson (born Laura Reichenthal; January 16, 1901 – September 2, 1991), best known as Laura Riding, was an American poet, critic, novelist, essayist, and short story writer. Although not as well-known as some of her famous contemporaries, such as Ezra Pound or H.D., she was one of the greatest American poets.

About the Translator:

manin_2021 (1)
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 Stepanova’s poem won the Compass Award competition. “Columns,” his new book of translations of Nikolai Zabolotsky’s poems, was published by Arc Publications in 2023 (https://eastwestliteraryforum.com/books/nikolai-zabolotsky-columns-poems).

Laura Riding
Bookshelf
by Ian Probstein

A new collection of poems by Ian Probstein. (In Russian)

by Ilya Perelmuter (editor)

Launched in 2012, “Four Centuries” is an international electronic magazine of Russian poetry in translation.

by Ilya Ehrenburg

Ilya Ehrenburg (1891–1967) was one of the most prolific Russian writers of the twentieth century.  Babi Yar and Other Poems, translated by Anna Krushelnitskaya, is a representative selection of Ehrenburg’s poetry, available in English for the first time.

by William Conelly

Young readers will love this delightful work of children’s verse by poet William Conelly, accompanied by Nadia Kossman’s imaginative, evocative illustrations.

by Maria Galina

A book of poems by Maria Galina, put together and completed exactly one day before the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This is Galina’s seventh book of poems. With translations by Anna Halberstadt and Ainsley Morse.

by Aleksandr Kabanov

The first bilingual (Russian-English) collection of poems by Aleksandr Kabanov, one of Ukraine’s major poets, “Elements for God” includes poems that predicted – and now chronicle – Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

Videos
Three Questions. A Documentary by Vita Shtivelman
Play Video
Poetry Reading in Honor of Brodsky’s 81st Birthday
Length: 1:35:40