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Sophia Iakovlevna Parnok
София Яковлевна Парнок
Как стужа лютая, так зной суров.
во впадине виска, где стынул пот.
As cold is bitter, heat can be intense.
There is a parable about this day:
the witches milk dry all the cows
and milk-intoxicated, faint away…
The rain has stopped, but left the earth unslaked
- What drops are these? She deserves a drink!
The distance streams, all molten with the heat,
and earth has gone all cracks and crevices…
On such a day, a long, long time ago,
to cicadas’ crackling, chirring tremolo,
now falling back, now on her elbows raising
herself again, her fingernails dug in
her palms, biting her mouth until it bled,
plaintively and ardently a mother did
her female deed, the vein beneath the hollow
of her temple beat, beat under cooled sweat.
Her depths cracked, like earth from the heat,
cicadas seemed to crackle in her ears –
and on that day of drunken witches’ rapture
to me, the newborn girl, was given a sacred,
the most sacred of all names – SOPHIA:
may my wildness be overcome by me, and
may I carry heavenly beauty high
past evil’s whirlwinds, like a Passion light.
Все выел ненасытный солончак.
The greedy saline soil had eaten everything.
I rooted out the twisted, writhen roots of
the vines that curled here once upon a time. –
The earth was nubbly, desiccated, scabby,
like a feverish sick woman’s lips…
Beneath its lacerated sole my foot
grew callouses from leaning on the shovel,
my hands were swelling with a painful fire,
as iron would collide with buried skulls.
She put up quite a fight against me with
a kind of atavistic vengefulness, but I
went at her with my pick – like so, like so,
I will outstubborn your stubbornness!
Hear sprightly peas will soon begin to curl,
the corn will raise its thick stalks skyward,
and elephantine pumpkin, big with child,
will loose her serpent tresses like the Gorgon.
Ah! Neither crocuses nor snowdrops smell
in spring so satisfyingly of spring as
the garden bed’s first-blooming cucumber!...
The sharp fang of my pick shone in the sun,
around me, clumps of earth bobbed up and crumbled,
a sea-breeze blew, the sweat run down my back
and cooled, congealing as a cold slender snake, -
and never had the rapture of possession
burned through me with such cloudless
completeness and such piercing pride…
And in the valley there the almonds fade
and in their place the peach trees start to bloom.
Мне снилось: я бреду впотьмах,
Вхожу. Сажусь. И ни один
Он на меня наводит взор.
Мой голос переходит в крик,
И страшно мне. И не пойму:
И почему на ту скамью,
И тотчас думаю: "Ну что ж?
В горах, перед началом дня,
12 мая 1927
To E. Ya Tarakhovskaya
I dreamt: I’m wandering in the dark,
my eyes have gotten used to darkness.
And then – light. A Caucasian inn.
Guttural chatter. Drunken shouting.
I enter. Sit. And no one at
the neighbouring tables turned to notice.
And old Lezghìn is pouring wine
lethargically from a wine-skin.
Now he directs his gaze at me.
(His pupil, like a cat’s, is narrowed.)
I say to him emphatically:
“Innkeeper! What’ve you go for supper?”
My voice gets louder till I shout,
but, clearly, no one there can hear it:
the old man did not raise his brow, -
he yawned, and went into the kitchen.
I’m scared. And I can’t comprehend:
these people here, with me, around me,
these people – all the young ones – why,
why can’t they hear my urgent outcry?
And why is no one looking at
the bench and table where I’m sitting
as if they’re empty?... I get up,
I wave my arms, begin protesting –
And right away I think: “Well, then?
So I’m invisible, is that it?
As such a woman, where’ll you go?”
And weary, I approach the window…
Before the beak of day there’s such
exalted silence in the mountains!
And a drunk looks through me, out
the window – and he says: “It’s morning!...”
12 May 1927
Вокруг ї ночной пустыней ї сцена.
Окончен ли, или не начат
Я невпопад на сцену вышла
Как в тесном платье, душно в плоти, ї
1 марта 1926
Around me – night’s wilds – a stage,
The spirits are risen from the traps,
a coolish breeze stirs the walls of
the living-quivering wings.
Is the how over or not yet
begun? The black hell is empty,
and only a bow weeps in the darkness
about what it’s left unsaid.
I’ve come out on stage inopportunely
and I feel my weary lips
mouthing some sort of untimely
The flesh constricts, like tight clothes –
and suddenly, breathing coolness,
someone whispers to me: “Throw off your
tatters, liberated soul!”
1 March 1926
В начале пятая глава
А после ї ночь... И оба врозь,
Опять о том, как пили чай,
24 февраля 1932
To Nina Vedeneyeva
It starts tight in with chapter five
(and there must be a hundred twenty) –
their words stop short as if tonguetied,
they have no secret nook or cranny
to hide from fate, or from themselves,
or from the silence that’s ensued, -
and muteness, and their meeting’s well,
five minutes to a rendez-vous!
But then comes – night… And they’re apart,
and in their beds they toss, from yearning,
and burned completely through their hearts
a kiss’s embryonic burning…
Oh, darling! here’s the bookmark where,
right here, the place that I stopped reading,
(I reached my doom with time to spare)
I can’t rereading from the beginning!
Again about how they drank tea,
sat decorously side by side,
exchanged quite accidentally
a glance that’s sort of crazy-eyed…
Come on, together, let us read
a long, long romance slowly-paced.
You want to make a start with me?
But only straight in medias res!
24 February 1932
|The last five poems were translated by Diana Burgin and are from Modern Poetry in Translation New Series n.º 10, Winter 1996, Edited by Daniel Weissbort, published by King's College, London, University of London, 1996 ISSN 0-969-3572|
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