Vera Pavlova. Five Poems. Translated by Andrey Kneller

Also in Translations:

hananya goodman
Picture by Hananya Goodman
Vera Pavlova. Five Poems. Translated by Andrey Kneller

Yellow leaves and clear blue skies:
Ukraine and autumn stand as one.
In Russia, though, a woman buys
a winter wardrobe for her son.
New combat boots – they’re mandatory.
A hat. A scarf. And mittens too.
She hugs him: Darling, do not worry,
just do as all good killers do.

Листья – жёлтые, небо – синее:
осень за Украину.
А в России бельишко зимнее
мать покупает сыну.
Берцы – не разрешили валенки.
Шапку. Шарф. Рукавицы.
Обнимает: прощай, мой маленький,
будь хорошим убийцей.
To join the dark side from fear?
To weep at the tolling of bells?
Putin is cancer. But we’re –
the body’s immunity cells.
We’re alive. Do not count us out.
Instructed by sorrow and spleen.
Did we fail to see it? No doubt.
Did we lose? – Remains to be seen.

Встать на сторону тьмы?
Плакать: песенка спета?
Путин – опухоль. Мы –
клетки иммунитета.
Мы ещё не мертвы.
Мы научены горем.
Проглядели? Увы.
Проиграли? Посмотрим.
We have lost all electric…
Voices hush in gloom.
Streetlamps fade into the mist.
Candles start to bloom.
It’s a cathedral – the entire
ancient capital today.
I should audition for left choir.
To cry. To sing. To pray.

Отключенья электри…
Притихают речи.
Умирают фонари.
Оживают свечи.
Превращается в собор
древняя столица.
Попроситься в левый хор.
Плакать. Петь. Молиться.
I was a woman among women.
In the nineties, at the start,
I could have played a nocturne given
only clotheslines in the yard.
Now? A heart squeezed to a fist.
Rotten cotton in a bag.
Trying daily to persist
washing blood stains off the flag.

Я была хорошей бабой.
В девяностых-нулевых
я ноктюрн сыграть могла бы
на верёвках бельевых.
А теперь? Гнилые нитки.
Сердце, сжатое в кулак.
Ежедневные попытки
отстирать кровавый флаг.
At the start of war, in agony,
far from loved ones, in a daze,
we outyelled the endless cannonry,
found each other through the haze.
Why should we now rock the ark,
tell me, sister, tell me, brother,
voices turning hoarse and stark,
trying to outyell each other?

В бессилье, в слезах, в начале
войны, от любимых вдали
мы пушки перекричали,
в тумане друг друга нашли.
Зачем же, сестрицы, братцы,
пытаться ковчег раскачать
и до хрипоты стараться
друг друга перекричать?

About the Author:

vera pavlova photo
Vera Pavlova
Toronto, Canada

Vera Pavlova was born in Moscow (Russia). She is a graduate of the Gnessin Academy where she specialized in history of music. Since 1997, she has published twenty four collections of poetry in her native Russian and authored five opera librettos, along with lyrics to three cantatas. Pavlova’s works have been translated into twenty seven languages.

About the Translator:

photo Andrey Kneller
Andrey Kneller
Southborough, MA

Andrey Kneller (1983 – ) is a Russian-born poet/translator. Attracted to the lyrical, rhyming quality of Russian poetry, Andrey has published over a dozen collections of Russian poetry translations, including such poets as Anna Akhmatova, Marina Tsvetaeva, Vladimir Mayakovsky, among others. His own poetry has appeared in a number of journals including Slide, Futures Magazine, National Forum: The Phi Kappa Phi Journal and Unlikely Stories.

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Poetry Reading in Honor of Brodsky’s 81st Birthday
Length: 1:35:40