W.B. Yeats. The Gyres. Translated by Michael Kossman

Also in Translations:

W.B. Yeats. The Gyres. Translated by Michael Kossman
W.B. Yeats
W.B. Yeats. The Gyres. Translated by Michael Kossman

The gyres! the gyres! Old Rocky Face, look forth;
Things thought too long can be no longer thought,
For beauty dies of beauty, worth of worth,
And ancient lineaments are blotted out.
Irrational streams of blood are staining earth;
Empedocles has thrown all things about;
Hector is dead and there’s a light in Troy;
We that look on but laugh in tragic joy.

What matter though numb nightmare ride on top,
And blood and mire the sensitive body stain?
What matter? Heave no sigh, let no tear drop,
A greater, a more gracious time has gone;
For painted forms or boxes of make-up
In ancient tombs I sighed, but not again;
What matter? Out of cavern comes a voice,
And all it knows is that one word “Rejoice!’

Conduct and work grow coarse, and coarse the soul,
What matter? Those that Rocky Face holds dear,
Lovers of horses and of women, shall,
From marble of a broken sepulchre,
Or dark betwixt the polecat and the owl,
Or any rich, dark nothing disinter
The workman, noble and saint, and all things run
On that unfashionable gyre again.

* * *


Спираль! Еще! Из Дельф смотри вперед.
В чем долго ищешь толк, в том толку нет.
Сеть красота сама себе плетет
И вот уж древних линий стерся след.
Шальным потоком кровь на землю льет;
Лежит отдельно каждый элемент.
И в Трое Гектор мертв, над Троей дым
А мы вперед, скрывая скорбь, глядим.

И пусть в кошмарный путь ведет поток,
На теле чутком будут кровь и грязь.
И пусть. Утри слезу, сдержи свой вздох,
Прошло величье, пала лучших власть.
Теперь в гробницах древних я б не смог
Как прежде над убранством стен вздыхать.
И пусть. Слова перевелись.
Одно в пещере слышно “Веселись!”

Грубеет нрав, душа и ремесло.
И пусть. Оракул в Дельфах охранит
Тех, кто любил коней и женщин,
Чтобы из мрамора разрушенных гробниц,
Из тьмы, где совы и хорька подкоп
Сумели воссоздать святых, работников. Опять
Спиралью устаревшей путь начать.

About the Author:

William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats
Dublin, Ireland / London, England

William Butler Yeats (13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939) was an Irish poet, dramatist, writer, and one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature; a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival, he became a pillar of the Irish literary establishment; in his later years served two terms as a Senator of the Irish Free State.

About the Translator:

Michael Kossman
Michael Kossman
Born in Moscow, USSR, passed in New York, USA

Michael Kossman was a poet, prose writer, translator of poetry from English and German, and literary critic. He was born in Moscow, where he graduated from high school and began his university studies. He emigrated from the USSR in 1972. He spent one year in Israel, where he studied at the University of Haifa. Upon his arrival in the US, he first settled in Cleveland where his father had a college teaching job, then in New York. He graduated from Columbia University with a master’s degree in Russian literature. He wrote amazing poems and short stories but was indifferent to publication and refused to publish his work. Unfortunately, most of his best poems were lost, as he did not care to keep them. He translated poems by W.B. Yeats (from English) and Hermann Hesse (from German) into Russian. He authored studies on Bulgakov’s “The Master and Margarita” and on Zamyatin’s unfinished novel “The Scourge of God”. He was not only a unique poet and short story writer, but also a thinker, and his thinking often verged on the prophetic. He saw life and death so clearly, that in some of his poems written many years ago, he predicted his own death. He passed away on the same night and at the same time as his father, January 22, 2010. After his passing, his sister found an envelope with a few of his poems & translations and arranged for their publication.

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