Yana Djin. Two poems with Russian translations by Nodar Djin.
Yana Djin. Two poems with Russian translations by Nodar Djin.
Art by Elene Akhvlediani (1898–1975) , a Georgian painter, graphic artist, and theater decorator.
Yana Djin. Two poems with Russian translations by Nodar Djin.

Scenes From Childhood. Part 1
It was long ago.
It almost didn’t exist.
At the time when I didn’t know
how to form a fist.
Life was indifferent to me.
Didn’t make me kneel.
Since then – it went downhill.

Tender fear.
The childhood street.
Acacias stood guilty,
like the navy fleet .
Caught obeying the enemy’s
head of state.
They stood like traitors,
like fate.

Then – there was no need to feign
that there is no choice but to go insane
following buds of lilac sprouting forth:
Inevitability of a rabid force.

Life was naked and raw.
The dreams were bare.
Yellow wallpaper – poor
Like a gorilla’s stare:
Full of helplessness.
As it watches us – writhing in doubt –
Its tomorrow.

They tell me recalling childhood
Is an omen of death.
I stand in front of the mirror.
Take my allotted breath:
One of many or few left in store.
Was I happy then?
Well, I am no more.
Scenes From Childhood. Part 2

I remember our dirt-yard
and the just-slain sheep
for the wedding that would bring slow grief
to the groom and the bride –
festive and sad.
I remember the feeling of being dead
at the sight of the blood –
crimson and raw
oozing out of the throat.
I remember the core
of life bursting ajar.
I remember wishing that I were far
from the scene of slaughter,
from my own kin.
I wished I were no one’s daughter.
I remember the sound of skin
being deftly torn from the heaping flesh.
I remember I wanted to turn to trash.
Disappear. Vanish.
Dissolve. Melt.
Shove back the cards I was dealt.
* * *
Картины из детства. Часть 1
То было давно.
Почти и не было.
Ни светло, ни темно –
ни огня, ни пепла.
В те дни я в кулак
ладонь не сжимала.
Ни друг, ни враг, –
жизнь моя вяло
С тех дней трудней мне стало.

Детство. Прократься
страхи стараются
в каждую нишу на улице.
Из зыбкого чувства вины акации
сникли, сутулятся.
Как наряд из солдат,
которых уже уличили в измене.
Настороже деревья стоят.
Как судьба. В бессрочной смене.

В те дни я не знала нужды притворяться,
что знаю: осталось только податься
вон из ума, как цветок из бутона.
Краски не знали в те дни полутона.

Маски не ведала правда. Нагою
была. А сны – прямыми. Унылы
были стены в драных обоях, –
жёлтых, словно взгляд у гориллы,
горюющей при мысли, что ей –
в будущем среди нас, людей,
быть. От рождения до могилы.

Мне нагадали: если померкло
в памяти всё, кроме детства, – счёт,
значит, к концу… Дышу на зеркало,
считаю вздохи: чёт, нечёт…
Считаю ли счастьем детские годы?
Знаю другое: другие – не в счёт.
Картины из детства. Часть 2

Не забыла я наш нечистый двор
и овцу, во дворе забитую к свадьбе,
положившей начало тягучей тоске
в житии жениха и невесты.
В глазах сей пары – я помню – тогда
веселье чередовалось с грустью.
Но наизусть и навсегда
иное запомнилось мне, – кончина,
её ощущенье скотиной и кровь,
дымившаяся по той причине,
что, струясь из горла в маленький ров,
стыла на воздухе. Пар был багров…
Чётко помню: оттуда я
захотела сбежать в такие края,
где никому не пришлась бы дочерью,
и мне роднёй – никто, в свою очередь.
А потом, когда с остывавшей туши
сдирали шкуру, я заткнула уши,
и помню, помню, что вместе со звуком
хотела исчезнуть сама. Чтобы мукам
немоим и моим пришёл исход.
Помню ещё – захотелось пылью
обернуться. Вернуться
туда, где было
К раскладу первых колод.
Russian translations by Nodar Djin

About the Author:

Yana Djin
Yana Djin
New York, USA

Yana Djin was born in 1969, in Tbilisi, Georgia. Subsequently, she lived in Moscow. In 1980, she emigrated to the United States where she studied philosophy. Yana Djin writes poetry in English. Her first book of poetry “Bits And Pieces of Conversations” was published in the US in 1994. Her poems in Russian translation were first published in 1997 in “Literaturnaya Gazeta” under the heading “The New Literary Star”. This was followed by publications in Russian literary magazines, such as “Druzhba Narodov” and “Novyi Mir”. In 2000, Yana Djin’s bilingual book of poetry “Inevitable” was published in Moscow. Djin’s book “Realms of Doubt” was published in 2002. “Immortality”, a collection of poems dedicated to her father, Nodar Djin, was published in 2004.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on telegram
Share on email
Yana Djin Яна Джин
by Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry

Four teenagers grow inseparable in the last days of the Soviet Union—but not all of them will live to see the new world arrive in this powerful debut novel, loosely based on Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard.


by Mark Budman

Every character in these twenty-two interlinked stories is an immigrant from a place real or imaginary. (Magic realism/immigrant fiction.)

by Victor Enyutin

A book of poems in Russian by Victor Enyutin (San Francisco, 1983). Victor  Enyutin is a Russian writer, poet, and sociologist who emigrated to the US from the Soviet Union in 1975.

by Anna Krushelnitskaya

This collection of personal essays by a bi-national Russian/U.S. author offers glimpses into many things Soviet and post-Soviet: the sacred, the profane, the mundane, the little-discussed and the often-overlooked. What was a Soviet school dance like? Did communists go to church? Did communists listen to Donna Summer? If you want to find out, read on!

by Anna Krushelnitskaya

“Cold War Casual” is a collection of transcribed oral testimony and interviews translated from Russian into English and from English into Russian that delve into the effect of the events and the government propaganda of the Cold War era on regular citizens of countries on both sides of the Iron Curtain.

by Nina Kossman

A collection of poems in Russian. Published by Khudozhestvennaya literatura. Moscow, 1990.

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