Monday, January 31, 2011


You’ll fall in the river!

In the depths there’s a rose
and in the rose another river.

See that bird! Look
at that yellow bird!

My eyes have disappeared
into the water.

He’s slipping! Little boy!

… and I myself am in the rose.

When he was lost in the water
I understood. But I shan’t explain.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Radiation sickness

Radiation sickness!
puts it bluntly:
          learn to endure.
The treatment
Takes an eternity,
and there’s little chance
of a cure.
Judgement’s passed.
No hope,
not a glimmer.

Is it fair—

          come, speak up and say—
that the heirs
of the Hiroshimas
for their fathers
                    are made to pay?...
Drops of dew
have a poisonous glitter,
and the air
pretends to be clean.
The complaints
          of the guiltless
                    are bitter,
malformed infants
moan and scream.
Mauled by time,
          our ancient planet
is a gaping wound.

 You are
          and many-handed,
radialion sickness;
                    your scars
never heal.
    The calendar, grinning croukedly,
sheds its sheets....
          The deadly blast
fades away with the years,
                    but, wickedly,
time itself
you seek
to outlast.
In our blood-stream you rove,
                    sowing panic,
to our marrow
          you eat
                    your way,
like the germ
of an epidemic,
like the curse
of a blighted day.
You attack us in secret.
                    Your villainy,
like your sores,
is not pretty to see,
radiation sickness
          of calumny
cowardice, spiteful glee!
It’s a fact,
          not a fruit of fantasy,
I am not
          sending words
                    down the drain.
Look how beardless
          these days
                    is hypocrisy:
it’s a sign
you’ve cropped up again!
Radiation sickness—
 how lavishly
You bestow your bounty.
Exhortations won’t help
                    to banish you
from the planet’s
tormented face.
There’s no drug
in the medical cabinet,
there’s no doctor
          to spell your doom.
Time will kill you
                    in time.
That’s definite.
It’s a pity
it won’t be soon.

Translated by Irina Zheleznova



Lamp, candle,
firefly, lantern.

The saeta’s
Little windows of gold
and in the dawn the sway
of cross upon cross.

Lamp, candle,
firefly, lantern.



Yes, it’s water.
And here we have the surety:
It follows water’s laws;
It falls in drops,
It flows,
It passes all the tests of clarity and purity—
But does it serve to slake
Your thirst, or wash your clothes?
It scorns to deck its rim with rushes, reeds
                    and sedges—
No sheen of silv’ry fish in dim mysterious deeps,
No waving water-reeds. And round its tidy edges
No song-bird sings, and ne’er a willow weeps.

Yes, it’s water;
It’s proved by all the data,
Although it knows no wave of storm or strife.
And this
This H20
This aqua distillata
Has all that water has
All but life.

Translated liy Archie Jolmstone

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Foolish Song

I want to turn into silver.

you’d freeze.

I want to turn into water.

you’d freeze.

sew me into your pillow.

This time yes,
and straightaway!


Saturday, January 8, 2011

To be Myself

I’ve had advice from everyone I know,
It was bestowed most subtly and astutely.
And all I did was nod my head: "That’s so.
You’re right.... You’re right, old fellow,
          One finger stiffly raised,
          they’d clutch me tight
By the lapel.
          “I’m grateful beyond measure.”
I never argued:
          “Yes... Yes, thank you....
It cost me nothing, and it gave them pleasure.
"I do agree.... I do... That’s really clever!...
Without a doubt!... Of course.... I’ll think it over....”
      The harder did they try to shape my mind,
The more to be myself was I inclined.

 (Translated by Irina Zhelezrova)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Oakleaf

The darkest clouds won’t terrify me,
I can withstand the fiercest winds,
I cling to life, all storms defying,
As to its branch an oakleaf clings.

Through autumn rain and gloom despairing
It blazes with a copper glint,
And when a vicious wind comes tearing
The oakleaf merely sways and rings.

In winter, when the cold turns mean
And every night a blizzard blows,
The oakleaf valiantly screens
The mother branch on which it grows.

But when the spring its magic weaves
The oakleaf welcomes it, enlhralled,
And ceding place to young green leaves
Upon the ground it softly falls.

(Translated by Olga Shartse)