Friday, May 27, 2011

The Ballad of the Pail

I’m a form out of zinc. I contain
Heavy pellets—the fruit of the dust-sprayed cherry.
Crimson sunsets and dawns they retain.
Now they doze in me, berry on berry.
I’m a form. In the autumn my content are pears,
The lamps of the orchard, the sun’s gleaming rivals,
Stray souls of the bark-clad Republic of Sap
Gathered in aprons as welcome arrivals.

I’m a form.
I’m a body,
A cone out of zinc
Whose content is multiform—free of its form.
Filled with dagger-like carrots or beet to the brink
Or brittle green stalks, without measure or norm.

I’m a form. It’s to man that I owe my birth
And what I am filled with is subject to him.
And when I am free of the flesh of the earth
I am laden with air—full of sky to the brim.


Translated by Dorian Rottenberg

Friday, May 20, 2011

Poem by Feynman....

There are the rushing waves
mountains of molecules
each stupidly minding its own business
trillions apart
yet forming white surf in unison.

Ages on ages before any eyes could see
year after year
thunderously pounding the shore as now.
For whom, for what?

On a dead planet
with no life to entertain.
Never at rest
tortured by energy
wasted prodigiously by the sunpoured into space.
A mite makes the sea roar.

Deep in the sea
all molecules repeat
the patterns of one another
till complex new ones are formed.

They make others like themselves
and a new dance starts.
Growing in size and complexity
living things masses of atoms

DNA, protein
dancing a pattern ever more intricate.
Out of the cradle
onto dry landhere it is

atoms with consciousness;
matter with curiosity.
Stands at the sea,
wonders at wondering:
 I a universe of atoms
an atom in the universe.

Richard Phillips Feynman

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sholokhov on Red Army.....

. . . While no war in world history has been as bloody and destructive as the war of 1941–1945, no army in the world has ever scored such brilliant victories as our own Red Army, nor appeared before the amazed eyes of mankind bathed in such a radiance of glory, might and greatness.

When our armies had taken Eidtkunen in Eastern Prussia, an inscription in Russian was made on the wall of the railway station building next to the German words: “741.7 kilometres to Berlin”. One of our soldiers had written in a bold scrawl: “We”ll get there anyway.” And signed it: Chernousov.

Do not these simple words written by a Russian soldier ring with truly magnificent confidence? And these Russian soldiers did get to Berlin, and what is more they buried forever under
the ruins of Hitler’s metropolis his mad dreams of world domination.

Centuries will pass, but mankind will always gratefully remember our heroic Red Army. . . .

Mikhail Sholokhov

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

ओडिसियस एलाइटिस...

जब तक कि चेतना पदार्थ में वापस नहीं लौटती
हमें दोहराते रहना होगा
कि दुनिया में कोई छोटे और बड़े कवि नहीं- सिर्फ मनुष्‍य हैं,

कुछ ऐसे जो कविताएं ऐसे लिखते हैं
जैसे वे पैसा कमाते हैं
या वेश्‍याओं के साथ सोते हैं
और कुछ ऐसे मनुष्‍य , जो ऐसे लिखते हैं
जैसे प्रेम के चाकू ने उनका दिल चीर दिया हो...........

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Parabolical Ballad

Fortunes like rockets fly routes parabolical,
Rainbows less widespread than gloom diabolical.
For instance, the iiery-red painter Gaugin,
Bohemian, though sales-agent until then:
To get to the Louvre from nearby Montmartre
He looped through Tahiti, just missing Sumatra.

Sped skyward, forgetting of money-born madness,
Of cackling wives and of stifling academies.
And so
          he surmounted
                    terrestrial gravity.

The priests of the fine arts were eager to have
                    at him:
"A parabola’s fine, but a straight line’s far
Better copy old Eden,” they scoffed over porter.
But Gaugin zoomed away like today’s rocketeers
In a wind that went tearing at coat-tails and ears
And entered the Louvre not through the front door,
But crashed his parabola through ceiling and floor!
Each reaches his truth with his own share
                    of nerve:
A worm through a chink
                    and a man by a curve.

There once lived a girl—just a few blocks away.
We took college together until one fine day.
Why on earth did I fly
          like a blinking old ass
To mix with Tbilisi’s ambiguous stars?
Don’t blame me too hard for that barmy parabola,
Poor shoulders left out in the cold by a rambler!
How clear you rang out through the gloom of the
My slender antenna, in gales truly furious.
On and on I keep flying,
          to land by your call,
My earthly antenna left out in the cold.
It’s difficult business to fly a parabola.
Yet when art, love or history is the traveller,
Then, paragraphs, canons, prognoses defying,
Parabolical trajectories they go flying....
_ _ _
Siberian spring drowns galoshes in water
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Perhaps, after all, though, a straight line
                    is shorter?


Translated by Dorian Rottenberg