Андрей Андреевич Вознесенский (1933-2010)


Andrei Voznesensky





Published 16 July 2013


Autumn in Sigulda



by Andrei Voznesensky; introduced by Mika Ross-Southall



After graduating in 1957 from the Institute of Architecture in his native Moscow, Andrei Voznesensky turned to poetry. His fascination with painting, design, architecture and, importantly, structure, reveals itself in his poems; he stated that “when you make a building, the form must be sound – sound forever. And I think it is the same in poetry . . . . You need a style as much as a bathroom. If the construction is good for your time, it will be good for all time”. Prioritizing form and sound over content, Voznesensky, and his contemporary Yevgeny Yevtushenko, exploited the traditional Russian taste for recitation by writing poems specifically for performance. In the 1960s, when rock ‘n’ roll was banned in Russia, poetry readings attracted a music-hungry audience, and Voznesensky and his group of poets found themselves performing to 14,000 people in sports stadiums. André Breton hailed him as “our last hope”. W. H. Auden, a translator of some of his verses, said Voznesensky regarded a poem as “a verbal artefact”. In spite of this popularity, or rather, because of it, Voznesensky was rebuked by Nikita Khrushchev for his “formalism” which seemingly went against the uplifting style of socialist realism.


“Autumn in Sigulda” is quiet, elegiac and different from the “jangle” jazz rhythms of Voznesensky’s beatnik-style series, which includes “The Last Tram”, printed in the TLS two years earlier. “Autumn in Sigulda” reminisces about a past time, “near me and somewhere far off”, drawing on the changing seasons – a favourite theme of Russian poets of the period. As the trees lose their leaves “we too are emptied out” from summer, from the “dacha” house, and “from mothers, / from women”. The passing of time seems both reassuring and disturbing to the speaker, weighted by his desire to linger in the soon-to-be-past, and be remembered: “our lives come round again / in friends and lovers, grass and grain”, reincarnated “perhaps briefly . . . against the burning of your cheek”. In spite of giving “thanks and thanks redoubled” for this predictable “law” of nature, the “Help me!” with which this poem closes betrays the equally predictable return of the poet’s disquietude.





Autumn in Sigulda


From the last carriage I watch the place go by, 

goodbye my summer, 
we must go, 
axes stun the dacha now, 
my house, nail up the timber, 

my woods have lost their leaves, 
they are empty and sad 
like the case the music leaves 
an accordion gone dead,

we are people, 
we too are emptied out, 
we issue, 
as it is written,

from walls, 
from mothers, 
from women, 
for ever, summer or winter,

goodbye dear mother, 
at the windows 
you grow translucent like a larva, 
tired, tired with the days, 
let us sit down together,

friends, enemies, live on, 
out from me now 
whistling you run, 
as I issue from you,

o my country, let us say our goodbyes, 
I’ll be a star, a willow tree, 
no weeping, no beggarly cries, 
only my thanks that life could be,

at the butts with my 10 shots 
I thought I’d knock up 100, but – 
my thanks that I could not, 
and thanks and thanks redoubled that

in my transparent shoulder-blades they thrust 
the gifts of my vision, it fits 
like the rubber 
glove that trusts 
a man’s red fist,

“Andrei Voznesensky” – so it will be, 
and perhaps briefly neither word nor pet dog, but me, 
here against the burning of your cheek, 

my thanks that we met in the fall 
in these woods, you asked me something, 
dragging your dog by its collar, 
the dog struggling, 
my thanks,

I have come to life again, my thanks for this autumn 
when you made me see myself clear and plain, 
the woman wakened us at eight, my 
thanks for the holiday record we played 
that groaned out its slangy jangle, 
my thanks,

but o you are going away, going away, 
as a train goes, you are going away, 
out from my empty pores you are going away.
each of us goes, we separate, we go on our way, 
was this house wrong for us, who can say?

you are near me and somewhere far off, 
Vladivostok is no farther off, 
I know our lives come round again 
in friends and lovers, grass and grain, 
changed into that, and those, and this, 
nature abhorring emptiness,

my thanks for the leaves that are scattered, 
a million spring to their relief, 
my thanks for what your laws tell me, 
but a woman is fluttering along the embankment 
after the train like a fiery leaf! . . .

Help me!

Andrei Voznesenky (1966)
Translated by Edwin Morgan





Свисаю с вагонной площадки,
прощай мое лето,
пора мне,
на даче стучат топорами,
мой дом забивают дощатый,
леса мои сбросили кроны,
пусты они и грустны,
как ящик с аккордеона,
а музыку - унесли,
мы - люди,
мы тоже порожни,
уходим мы,
         так уж положено,
из стен,
              и из женщин,
и этот порядок извечен,
прощай, моя мама,
у окон
ты станешь прозрачно, как кокон,
наверно, умаялась за день,
друзья и враги, бывайте,
гуд бай,
из меня сейчас
со свистом вы выбегайте,
и я ухожу из вас,
о родина, попрощаемся,
буду звезда, ветла,
не плачу, не попрошайка,
спасибо, жизнь, что была,
на стрельбищах
в 10 баллов
я пробовал выбить 100,
спасибо, что ошибался,
но трижды спасибо, что
в прозрачные мои лопатки
входило прозренье, как
в резиновую перчатку
красный мужской кулак,
"Андрей Вознесенский" - будет,
побыть бы не словом, не бульдиком,
еще на щеке твоей душной -
спасибо, что в рощах осенних
ты встретилась, что-то спросила
и пса волокла за ошейник,
а он упирался,
я ожил, спасибо за осень,
что ты мне меня объяснила,
хозяйка будила нас в восемь,
а в праздники сипло басила
пластинка блатного пошиба,
но вот ты уходишь, уходишь,
                        как поезд отходит, уходишь...
из пор моих полых уходишь,
мы врозь друг из друга уходим,
чем нам этот дом неугоден?
Ты рядом и где-то далеко,
почти что у Владивостока,
я знаю, что мы повторимся
в друзья и подругах, в травинках,
нас этот заменит и тот -
"природа боится пустот",
спасибо за сдутые кроны,
на смену придут миллионы,
за ваши законы - спасибо,
но женщина мчится по склонам,
как огненный лист за вагоном...


Строфы века. Антология русской поэзии.
Сост. Е.Евтушенко.
Минск, Москва: Полифакт, 1995.




The New York Review of Books

April 14, 1966 -Five Poems by Andrei Voznesensky

Andrei Voznesensky, Patricia Blake, and Max Hayward, translated by Richard Wilbur and W.H. Auden


The New York Review of Books

April 14, 1966 - The Poetry of Andrei Voznesensky, by W.H. Auden




The New York Times