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Reviews, essays, and translations

Entries in Esenin (3)

Monday
Mar072016

Esenin, "Мне грустно на тебя смотреть"

A work ("To look at you so saddens me") by this poet.  The original can be found here.

To look at you so saddens me:
What pain! What pity!  For I know
We’ve but the copper willow tree
In this September left to show.

Another’s lips have come to feel
Your warmth and bodily convulse,
As if soft rain were to reveal
A heart deprived of mortal pulse.

But anyway, I fear him not,
Another joy has since obtained.
You see, everything that remained
Is only damp and yellowed rot. 

Myself I never had preserved
For peaceful life, much less for smiles.
I’ve walked already so few miles,
By so many mistakes unnerved.

Life’s laughable in its off–tones
So it has been, so it will stay:
A cemetery, as gnawed bones
Of birch tree in a garden lay.

So this is how we wither, fade,
And quell our noise like garden guests.
If winter flowers so forbade,
For them one then should not distress.

Tuesday
Sep302014

Esenin, "Душа грустит о небесах"

A work ("The soul beholds the clouds and grieves") by this Russian poet. You can read the original here.

The soul beholds the clouds and grieves,
The residence of fields not here.
My love burns when upon the leaves
Hot greenish fire draws my gaze near.

Like candles warm in secret shape,
These boughs of gilded trunks will glow,
And stars of words illuminate
Primordial leaves of long ago.

I know what ‘earth’ may well entail,
Yet I cannot its torture shake,
Like waters’ deep reflecting dale
Of passing comets’ fiery wake.

So no good horse would shake its tress,
Its spine reflects a drinking moon.
If only eyes like mine would crest,
As leaves like these in endless swoon.


Sunday
Sep062009

Esenin, "Да! Теперь - решено. Без возврата"

A work ("Now all is set, and I forsake") by this Russian poet.  You can read the original here.

Now all is set, and I forsake
My homeland's woods and sunlit glare.
No longer will the poplars cleave
Their winged foliage in my hair. 

The low house stoops without my height,
My faithful dog has long licked sod.
On crooked Moscow streets at night
I am to die, so promised God. 

This town of elms, I love it well,
Decrepit, flabby  be it so.
And drowsy golden Asia's swell
Has died upon the rounded domes.

And when the moonlight gilds the sky  
Who knows just how it got that far!
My head hung down, I then espy
Across the street a well-known bar.

In foulest lair of noise and grime,
Through all the night until day's brink,
To hookers I will read sweet rhyme,
And heat my bones with thugs and drink. 

My heart will rise as throbbing sun,
Then I will say, in whispered shout:
"I'm just like you, o fallen one
I also have now no way out."

On crooked streets in Moscow bright, 
My loving dog has fled the rod;
My measly house has stooped in fright:
I am to die, thus deemed my God.