Tuesday, October 29, 2013

two poems by Vladislav Khodasevich

1886 - 1939


  1. "The Monkey" gives me goosebumps. Those are "before"; here is an "after" poem. Not my favorite of his, but it is definitely unique:

    Vladislav Khodasevich
    Vladislav Khodasevich


    We make our way in somber silence.
    The empty dark, the row night.
    And suddenly – with singing summons –
    Automobile arrives in sight.

    While shone with facets of his glasses
    And a black varnish of side screens,
    ‘He’ stretches in the nightly darkness,
    Like Angel, two ‘His’ whiting wings.

    And buildings were at once mutated
    Into the walls of festive halls,
    And there, a passer-by, belated,
    Run through the wings, ‘He’ wildly holds.

    The light had splashed and get off farther,
    Swinging in rain’s transparent sea…
    But hark to me: now another,
    Another Car arrives to me.

    ‘He’ runs to us in light of dawns
    ‘He’ runs to us on sunny days
    And on ‘His’ sides two wings like those,
    But they are black – the wings, ‘He’ spreads.

    And all that only could be found
    Under the black shaft of ‘His’ rays,
    Without any trace flew out
    From my remembrance far away.

    I do forget, I loose forever
    My Psyche, my untainted soul,
    I stretch my arms of a sightless beggar,
    And could not recognize that all:

    There was the world here, simple and whole,
    But from the time as ‘He’ appeared,
    The blanks gape in the world and soul,
    As from the acids which were spilled.

    Translated by Yevgeny Bonver, December, 2000

  2. To me, "Automobile" has a kind of Emily Dickinson quality to it. I need to read it some more, to let its essence further spill into my head.

  3. The translation is a little scratchy, but you get some of the structure of the original.