Poets of Ukraine. Boris Khersonsky. Last Days of Peace.

Also in World:

Poets of Ukraine. Boris Khersonsky. Last Days of Peace.
Odessa in the old days
Poets of Ukraine. Boris Khersonsky. Last Days of Peace.

 
***

Странно думать – быть может, это последние мирные дни.

Друзья покидают нас. Мы остаемся одни

перед лицом, перед рылом, перед пастью врага.

Неужели в этот капкан вступит его нога?

Неужели нашей землей он хочет набить свой рот?

Нежели товарищ ему не волк, а подземный крот?

Неужто по крови изголодалась земля?

Ненасытен вампир и ласков, что то теля,

только не молоко сосет, а кровь из жил,

чтобы потом спросили – в каком ты полку служил.

чтоб на всю грудь несметные посмертные ордена.

Тело истлело, душа осталась одна.

Что ей делать на поле боя? А в небеса ни-ни.

Страшно думать – быть может, это последние мирные дни.
 

February 12, 2022

* * *
 
 

It feels weird– but these could be our last days of peace.

Friends are abandoning us. We are staying alone

to face, or rather, to see the enemy’s mouth, his snout.

Will he really step into this trap?

Does he really want to stuff his mouth with our soil?

Is his best friend a subterranean mole, not a wolf?

Is the earth that hungry for blood?

The vampire is insatiable and gentle like a calf,

only it doesn’t suck milk, he prefers to suck blood from veins,

so that he gets asked later – in what regiment he had served

so that his chest is all covered with orders, post-mortem.

The body decayed; the soul remained all alone.

What is there for it to do on the battlefield? But, there is no way to heaven.

It so scary to be thinking – these could be the last days of peace.
 
 

Translated by Anna Halberstadt

About the Author:

Boris Khersonsky
Boris Khersonsky
Odessa, Ukraine

Boris Khersonsky was born in Chernivtsi in 1950. Khersonsky has published over nineteen collections of poetry and essays in Russian, and most recently, in Ukrainian. He is widely regarded as one of Ukraine’s most prominent Russian-language poets.

About the Translator:

Anna Halberstadt
Anna Halberstadt
New York, USA

Anna Halberstadt is a poet and a translator from Russian, Lithuanian and English, who grew up in Lithuania and was trained as a psychologist at Moscow University and in the U.S. Her poetry in English was widely published in English-language journals, and Russian, in Arion, Interpoezia, Children of Ra and many others. Her poetry was translated into Lithuanian, Ukrainian, and Tamil. She published four collections of poetry in English, and Transit and Gloomy Sun (in Russian).

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on telegram
Share on email
Boris Khersonsky Борис Херсонский
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