Thursday, April 14, 2016

Russian poems I love


I love you, - though I rage anew
And struggle in vain, distressed,
And at your feet, I now confess
This foolishness to you!
This ill befits my age, and I…
Should know: enough’s enough!
But all the symptoms here imply
That I am plagued with love:
Without you near, - I’m feeling bored;
With you, - I feel estranged now;
But I can’t speak a single word
Of how I love you, angel!
When, from the living room, I hear
Your girlish laughter in the distance,
Or when I see you walking near,
I lose my mind that very instant.
You’ll smile – and my joy is real;
You’ll turn away – I pine;
And my reward for this ordeal –
Your pale-white hand in mine.
When by the lace frame, full of care,
You’re bending carelessly, your hair
Hangs low, your eyes are mild –
I marvel at you, but don’t dare
To say a word, as though a child!
Shall I confess what plagues soul
What brings me jealousy and worry,
When you are going for a stroll,
When weather’s foul and stormy?
When you are all alone and crying,
And when we talk till morning light,
And when the speedy carriage’s flying,
When the piano plays at night?
I only ask for your compassion.
Alina! I can’t ask for love.
Throughout this life, I’ve sinned enough,
To not be worthy of your passion.
But try to feign it! I’m na├»ve.
That gaze beguiles me, believe me!
Ah, it’s so easy to deceive me!...
This time, I’m glad to be deceived!

Alexander Pushkin, (1826), Translation by Andrey Kneller


Neither miles
nor quarrels
can make love perish.
Thought out
and tested
all through.
Raising the sheet of verses,
my cherished,--
I swear that my love is both,
constant and true!

Vladimir Mayakovsky, (1922), Translation by Andrey Kneller

A wish

My days still linger, slow and rough,
Each moment multiplies the sadness
Within the heart of hapless love
And drives my yearning into madness.
I’m silent; I don’t dare to breathe.
I weep, my tears are my salvation.
My soul, held captive in this grief,
In tears alone finds consolation.
No longer do I care if life goes by,
Its empty ghost will lastly set me free;
The sorrow of my love is dear to me--
If I die loving, then I pray let die!

Alexander Pushkin, (1816), Translation by Andrey Kneller

Till we meet again, my dear one! 

Till we meet again, my dear one!
As the curtains fall.
On the lips, I’ll kiss the mirror
hanging in your hall.
On the cheek. And leaving, worr-
ied that I won’t withstand,
I will kiss the closing door
gently on the hand.

Vera Pavlova,  Translation by Andrey Kneller