Sergei Solovyov. Two Poems. Translated by Dmitri Manin

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Sergei Solovyov. Two Poems. Translated by Dmitri Manin
Photo by Sergei Solovyov
Sergei Solovyov. Two Poems. Translated by Dmitri Manin

“Mother dear, it’s Marchember whichever,

Year two thousand and I don’t know,”

Sergeant Poprishchin writes in a letter,

Back from the SMO.

Oil rigs burn, the sky’s diamond-starry,

death says: it does me no harm.

Tell it to the karamazov army

lying in the evenings on a farm.

Mother dear, your eyes are like dumplings.

The chief doctor says you’ll get a house,

just have patience, he grins

with his friendly – Moscow to Siberia –

dead man’s mouth.
~ ~ ~

Thousands of amputated legs, hands

awaken in heaven:

where are you, my friend,

my body – Volodya, Ivan…

They weave among the dead, the whole ones,

like asteroids floating round and round.

Is that you, Mom? Or a holy nebula

glimmering in a hollow nightgown?

There are towns and roads far below,

a ray of life through hell and agony.

Where hands and legs lie, gardens grow,

gardens rise from the earth, softly groaning…
The Originals
Матушка, мартобря, две тыщи

числа не помню, – пишет письмо

сержант Поприщин,

вернувшийся с СВО.

Нефть горит, небеса в алмазах,

смерть говорит: не худо мне.

Передай армии карамазовых,

что лежат в вечерах на хуторе.


Матушка, глаза у тебя, как клёцки.

Будет тебе, главврач говорит, дом,

потерпи, и смеется

добрым – от Москвы до Сибири –

мертвым ртом.
~ ~ ~

Тысячи ампутированных ног, рук

приходят в себя на том свете:

где ты, друг,

тело мое – Володя, Петя…

Плывут, огибая мертвых, целых,

как астероидные цепочки.

Мама, ты? Иль туманность божья

в полой ночной сорочке?

Где-то там, внизу – города-дороги,

Лучик жизни сквозь ад беды.

Над землей, где лежат эти руки-ноги,

с тихим стоном восходят сады, сады…

About the Author:

Sergei Soloviev
Sergei Solovyov
Munich, Germany

Sergei Solovyov is a poet, artist, and traveler, author of more than 20 books of prose, poetry and essays in Russian, including Feast, Book, Her Names, Man and Other, novels Amort and Adam’s Bridge. He was a laureate of the Russian Prize and Planet of the Poet Prize, and he was a finalist for a number of prizes, including the Bely Prize. Born in Kiev in 1959, he graduated from the Philological Faculty of Chernovtsi University and worked as a restoration artist of monumental painting in churches and monasteries of Ukraine. In the mid-eighties he created Noldistanciya, an avant-garde theater in Kiev; in the nineties he launched Kovcheg, a journal of art and literature. In 2000, he created an architectural project for a metagame labyrinth city (Germany). In the mid-2000s, he created Speech Landscapes, a club of free thinking, and he also became editor-in-chief of Figures of Speech, the almanac of contemporary literature, based in Moscow. In recent, pre-COVID19 years, he traveled in the hinterland of India, making films and writing books. He lives in Munich.

About the Translator:

manin_2021 (1)
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 Stepanova’s poem won the Compass Award competition. “Columns,” his new book of translations of Nikolai Zabolotsky’s poems, was published by Arc Publications in 2023 (

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