Poets of Ukraine. Alexandr Kabanov. “Just before daybreak…” Translated by Dmitri Manin

Also in World:

Poets of Ukraine. Alexandr Kabanov. “Just before daybreak…”  Translated by Dmitri Manin
Undated handout photo issued by street artist MyDogSighs of his mural in Northcote Lane, Cardiff, Wales.
Poets of Ukraine. Alexandr Kabanov. "Just before daybreak..." Translated by Dmitri Manin

 
 
Just before daybreak, when darkness starts to reveal
the age of foliage, snow, grass, sleeping people,
glass shattered bloody, wounds beginning to heal –
don’t cry, my dear, it’s impossible to defeat evil.

At the hour when no one’s left to crow three times,
for the rooster’s been roasted and ended his days as food,
silverware stolen, Mein Kampf published and advertized
don’t cry, my dear, it’s impossible to defeat good.

Dead birds hugging their nests are falling from trees,
dolphins are drowning, it’s the last chance before doom,
given to save us, but god disallowed lend-lease –
our immortality, yours and mine, is an equilibrium.

Hunger, death, devastation, fear, the original sin –
there is no axe to hack them, they won’t die,
and only love chomps up slime and filth, sucks it in,
but only love is your smile, only love will win,
and now, my dear, is the time to cry, to cry.
 
 
* * *

Перед самым началом утра, когда проступают швы,
едва подсохшие ранки, битое в кровь стекло,
возраст спящих людей, снега, листвы, травы:
не плачь, мой милый – непобедимо зло.

В час, когда трижды некому прокричать –
съеден петух на ужин, семейное серебро –
было украдено, вышел майн кампф в печать,
не плачь, мой милый – непобедимо добро.

Мертвые птицы, обняв свои гнезда, падают вниз,
тонут в море дельфины, это последний шанс –
дан во спасенье, но бог запретил ленд-лиз,
наше с тобой бессмертие – это баланс, баланс.

Голод, разруха, смерть, страх, первородный грех –
непобедимы все, нет на них топора,
и только любовь – сосёт, хавает грязь – за всех,
но только она – спасет, и только она – твой смех,
а вот теперь, мой милый, плакать пора, пора.

About the Author:

Aleksandr Kabanov
Aleksandr Kabanov
Kyiv, Ukraine

Alexandr Kabanov (born 1968) is a Ukrainian poet who writes in Russian. He lives and works in Kyiv. He is the author of fourteen books of poems and numerous publications in magazines and newspapers.

About the Translator:

Dmitri Manin
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 a poem by Stepanova won the Compass Award competition.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on telegram
Share on email
Alexandr Kabanov. Александр Кабанов
Bookshelf
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 Julia Wiener

Julia Wiener was born in the USSR a few years before the Second World War; her youth was spent during the “Thaw” period, and her maturity coincided with the years of “Soviet stagnation”, which, in her case, ended with her emigration to Israel in the early 1970s. Her wartime childhood, her Komsomol-student youth, her subsequent disillusionment, her meetings with well-known writers (Andrei Platonov, Victor Nekrasov, etc.) are described in a humorous style and colorful detail. Julia brings to life colorful characters – from her Moscow communal apartment neighbors to a hippie London lord, or an Arab family, headed by a devotee of classical Russian literature. No less diverse are the landscapes against which the events unfold: the steppes of Kazakhstan, the Garden of Gethsemane, New York, Amsterdam, London.

by Julia Wiener

Julia Wiener’s novels focus on those moments when illusory human existence collapses in the face of true life, be it spiritual purity, love, old age, or death.

by Nina Kossman

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

Videos
Play Video
Poetry Reading in Honor of Brodsky’s 81st Birthday
Length: 1:35:40
Play Video
The Café Review Poetry Reading in Russian and in English
Length: 2:16:23