Skip to main content
Outdated Browser

For the best experience using our website, we recommend upgrading your browser to a newer version or switching to a supported browser.

More Information

Poetry

Three Poems

By Shamshad Abdullaev
Translated from Russian by Alex Cigale & Dana Golin

On the Death of Jean Vigo

The day was silent to distraction,
only the dog’s growl traveled beyond the window
undulating slightly, barely eschewing
the bellows of the echo. A person—
that’s something interior (therefore,
incapable of habituating itself to Being).
To rise, get out of bed, handle a book,
open a responsive door—
no more than trifles,
but these ministrations are mystical rites when
they are inspired by a presentiment of death
or, possibly, something entirely different.
The air billowed under the morning casing,
in the all-too-usual yolk-stain of a dispassionate city,
in the room,
where the haggard blanket coddled his austere body.
On the other hand, this is wholly irrelevant . . .

​Translated by Dana Golin

 

Midday. 1975

The midday—spring-wound—with its lilac skin
cracked along a fold, reveals a path to blooming,
the nest feels heavier, and death
doesn’t submerge in a jar of iridescent honey.
Earth is moist with perspiration, which dries up as it slithers
into the wood-pulp,
the way a sequence of hours ripens,
precluding that awkward tension,
which holds the stalk trembling against the wind.
The surface of the water’s still—as it absorbs
into its very depths the glow of poppies.
Love’s premature, and lips
are fraught with salt and silence.

Translated by Dana Golin.

 

Family

The song of a mockingbird seeps into the taste of black cherry
especially here in father’s and mother’s
yard where for the first time the question
and answer are heard in unison—
the freshness of the vanishing provinces at
the end of a century when
the final stage of any microcosm resembles a prolonged dawning.
The terse terminus of the south
which will now frame the impending tide . . . .
a Greek-Bactrian dress, a pergola, and a hill,
a swarthy stranger with the profile of a Saxon sable.
Dust in the former rays settles steamlike between the
quinine-gray shoulder blades
of this guest who had fallen asleep in one of the rooms of my
parents’ house
as though it were only coolness warming up to the unfamiliar
voices.
A commonplace time in the begetting provinces,
a dim departure on your film strip,
but the sunny circumstances impinge upon the crashing
brightnesses
in the clay lamp crusting up in the shade—
an other tranquility of other grownups.
In the roots’ fibers fidget yellow beetles
like gobs of spit of mischief-makers come to life—he
is immobile growing no smaller,
the familiar impersonality of average dimensions still alive in him.

Translated by Alex Cigale.

© Shamshad Abdullaev. By arrangement with the author. Translations © 2017 by Dana Golin and Alex Cigale. All rights reserved.

English Russian

On the Death of Jean Vigo

The day was silent to distraction,
only the dog’s growl traveled beyond the window
undulating slightly, barely eschewing
the bellows of the echo. A person—
that’s something interior (therefore,
incapable of habituating itself to Being).
To rise, get out of bed, handle a book,
open a responsive door—
no more than trifles,
but these ministrations are mystical rites when
they are inspired by a presentiment of death
or, possibly, something entirely different.
The air billowed under the morning casing,
in the all-too-usual yolk-stain of a dispassionate city,
in the room,
where the haggard blanket coddled his austere body.
On the other hand, this is wholly irrelevant . . .

​Translated by Dana Golin

 

Midday. 1975

The midday—spring-wound—with its lilac skin
cracked along a fold, reveals a path to blooming,
the nest feels heavier, and death
doesn’t submerge in a jar of iridescent honey.
Earth is moist with perspiration, which dries up as it slithers
into the wood-pulp,
the way a sequence of hours ripens,
precluding that awkward tension,
which holds the stalk trembling against the wind.
The surface of the water’s still—as it absorbs
into its very depths the glow of poppies.
Love’s premature, and lips
are fraught with salt and silence.

Translated by Dana Golin.

 

Family

The song of a mockingbird seeps into the taste of black cherry
especially here in father’s and mother’s
yard where for the first time the question
and answer are heard in unison—
the freshness of the vanishing provinces at
the end of a century when
the final stage of any microcosm resembles a prolonged dawning.
The terse terminus of the south
which will now frame the impending tide . . . .
a Greek-Bactrian dress, a pergola, and a hill,
a swarthy stranger with the profile of a Saxon sable.
Dust in the former rays settles steamlike between the
quinine-gray shoulder blades
of this guest who had fallen asleep in one of the rooms of my
parents’ house
as though it were only coolness warming up to the unfamiliar
voices.
A commonplace time in the begetting provinces,
a dim departure on your film strip,
but the sunny circumstances impinge upon the crashing
brightnesses
in the clay lamp crusting up in the shade—
an other tranquility of other grownups.
In the roots’ fibers fidget yellow beetles
like gobs of spit of mischief-makers come to life—he
is immobile growing no smaller,
the familiar impersonality of average dimensions still alive in him.

Translated by Alex Cigale.

© Shamshad Abdullaev. By arrangement with the author. Translations © 2017 by Dana Golin and Alex Cigale. All rights reserved.

На смерть Жана Виго

День был тих до остервенения.
Лишь псиный рык бежал за окном,
слегка покачиваясь, едва прикасаясь
к мехам эха. Человек —
это нечто внутреннее (потому
не способное привыкнуть к бытию).
Подняться на ноги с постели, взять книгу,
открыть послушную дверь —
не более чем пустяк,
но эти движения таинственны,
когда вдохновлены предчувствием смерти
или, быть может, чем-нибудь иным….
Дул воздух под утренней скорлупой
в привычном желтке бесстрастного города —
в комнате,
где измождённое одеяло берегло его хмурое тело.
Впрочем, это не важно….

Полдень. 1975

Пружинист полдень — он лиловой кожей
в изгибе открывает путь цветения,
и тяжелей гнездо, и смерть
не опускается на дно искрящегося меда.
Земля в испарине, что сохнет, втекая в древесину, —
так череда часов крепчает
и ту неловкость исключает,
что держит дрожью стебель перед ветром.
Весь водоем спокоен — он вбирает
до глубины своей сиянье мака.
Любовь поспешна, и уста
чреваты солью и молчаньем.

 

РОД

Песня пересмешника таит вкус чёрной черешни,
особенно здесь, во дворе
отца и матери, где вопрос и ответ
впервые слышны вместе, –
свежесть на исходе столетия исчезающего захолустья, когда
последний этап любого микрокосма похож на долгую рань.
Краткий конец юга,
что сейчас окаймит встречную топь…
греко-бактрийское платье, айван и холм,
смутный незнакомец с профилем сакской сабли.
Пыль в прежних лучах пара́ми осела между хинно-серых лопаток
этого гостя, уснувшего в одной из комнат родительского дома,
будто лишь прохлада печётся о неизвестных голосах.
Нормальное время в чадородных кварталах,
тёмный удод на твоей плёнке,
но солнечная обстановка наплывает на скрещённые блёстки
в глиняном светильнике, засохшем в тени, –
другой покой других взрослых.
В корневых волокнах ворочаются жёлтые жуки,
как ожившие плевки прокажённых, – он
недвижен, не становясь меньше,
и близкое безличье общего роста ещё теплится в нём.

Read Next

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]