Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Collection of Poems. Part 2
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Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Collection of poems Part 2. Translated from the Russian by Alec Vagapov
Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Collection of Poems in English. Part 2
Collection of Poems
Translated from the Russian by Alec Vagapov
1. The Old Women
2. The House Swayed And Creaked A Choral Hymn Composing...
3. The Two
4. I Fancy, I've Already Loved You...
5. The Ballad Of A Running Take Off
6. An Attempt To Speak Blasphemy
9. Age Disease
11. The Pskov Turrets
12. Confession Of The Power Loving Man
13. The Limit
14. Many Times I Have Been Wounded Badly...
15. You must be capable of facing...
16. Our Children, Too, Are Liars...
17. Don't Disappear... For If You Go Away
18. The Ballad Of The Swallow
19. When A Man Is 40
20. For Your Information
21. The Catkin From An Alder-Tree
22. Before We Part...
23. I Can't Digest Extremists...
24. You Whispered In My Ear...
25. The Ballad Of The Swallow
26. It's Not A Second Time
27. The Sneer
28. The Troubadour's Secret
29. Should The Clover Rustle In The Meadow...
30. The Talent Of Improvisation...
31. Don't Disappear... For If You Go Away...
32. Oh Georgia,
33. Ideas, Dear, Right And Fair...
34. Straightforwardness Can Be A Little Off...
35. The Song My Son Is Softly Humming Spells...
36. I Don't Want To Please Everybody...
37. I Look Upon You With Repulsion And Disgust...
38. On The Bank Of The River I Happened...
40. Indifference Censorship
41. With days, I suppose, I may
42. You haven't given ...
43. My ma is getting old, to my dismay...
44. When poetry is self-assured...
45. Old Age Tears
46. The Wolves' Trial
47. The World Is Mad. It's Reasonably Furnished...
THE OLD WOMEN
That day I sat over a cup of tea
amid the high society of grannies
there reigned the atmosphere of courtesy
something these days one doesn't often see, -
intact and unaffected manners.
The high-bred mischief in the playful eyes
the subtle curiosity, well hidden,
were telling me about the former times
much more than what historians had written.
To me whose mother tongue is scant
as poor as a house, robbed and damaged,
the pure Russian phrases were like cant
and phrases borrowed from a foreign language.
In fact, the grannies were famous just
because of famous people's admiration.
The sign of the invisible Masonic caste
upon the feathered creatures cast
a lofty shadow of participation.
Somehow at cutting in I drew the line,
at times a glance would really make me shudder.
I felt out of place like home-made wine
amid such nectars as 'amontillado'.
It would have been a brutish thing to do
to call them snobs, or highbrows, or whatever.
They were superior to me, and yet I knew
they didn't think they were too clever.
I thought about the devastating wars
they had gone through and still were waging -
The two world wars and thousands of those
they'd been perpetually engaged in.
They had been forced to go so far!
Behind the grinding sound of wires
I saw such places as Karaganda
at table over tea with cakes and pies.
And yet the grannies hadn't grown profane
like ladies, dressed in quilted jackets, really,
they would cut short the swearer with disdain
by looking down on him or her austerely.
They'd dig the frozen ground for hours and days
the stormy blizzard knocking down the diggers,
they would disparage muttering the names
of some distinguished outstanding figures.
A super power of supersonic sound,
of super- sciences and engineering,
to me, my dear Russia, you're a land
of grannies, p'rhaps too strict but all-forgiving.
I noticed that the clothes they wore
and their turn-down collars were quite old fashioned...
I watched them and with gratitude I saw
they were, actually, the embodiment of Russia.
I listened to them pricking up my ears.
What would I say getting a word in edgeways?
I'd rather write for grannies such as these,
let others write their poems for teenagers.
The house swayed and creaked a choral hymn composing;
it was a burial service chorale for you and me.
The creaking house felt that we were not just dozing
we were dying slowly, unobtrusively.
'Wait, do not die! ' - a neigh resounded in the meadow
and echoed in the howl of dogs and fairy wood;
yet we were dying to each other and for ever
which was the same as dying to the whole wide world.
We didn't want to die! A bird pecked in the pine wood,
a hedgehog ran around in the grass beneath,
and like a shaggy dog, the black, wet night flowed onward
holding a water-lily, a star, between its teeth.
The darkness breathed the smell of raspberries through shutters;
behind my back I saw - without turning round -
my worn-out sweetheart sleep quietly with Plato's
spiritual girl-friend, a sister she had found.
I thought about marriages being made in heaven,
about how mean we all liars and traitors were:
I used to love you, dear, like thousands of brethren,
and like as many foes I drove you to despair.
Yes, you have changed a lot. Your angry look is arduous;
you sneer bitterly, as you put out a claw.
Isn't it we ourselves who turn our beloved ones
to kinds of hateful creatures we can't love anymore?
The fount of eloquence is obviously worthless
when wasted on a row, a stupid petty scene,
I wanted to bring happiness to all the earthlings
but couldn't make it with a single human being.
Yes, we were dying but I couldn't just believe in
the end of you and me, the end of both of us.
Our love had not yet died, it was alive and breathing
the trace of it imprinted upon her looking glass.
The house swayed and creaked amidst the nettle, stinging,
as if it were offering restraint and will of life.
We were dying there but we were still living.
We loved each other still which meant we were alive.
Some day (oh, God forbid, I still hope for salvation)
when I fall out of love and when I really die
my flesh will make a point, with hidden exultation,
of whispering at nights: 'so you are alive! '
Belated man of wisdom in our world of passions,
I'll come to realize: my flesh does tell a lie;
I'll tell myself: 'I'm dead. My love is turned to ashes.
I used to be in love. I used to be alive.'
Two people loving each other make a rebellion of two.
It is a thundering whisper breaking abuses through.
Two lovers in hay, or woodbine, make God Almighty's light,
it is like a waltzing ball of innumerous threads of life.
Two people adoring each other resemble two orphan kids
that cling to the skirt of beauty like puppies reaching for feeds.
They are a sort of skin-readers and linguists of human eyes.
To understand the tremors they don't need any advice.
The bed-sheets they've crumbled they value more than anything else.
The names that they whisper are greater than any of greatest names.
It is a serious menace, conspiracy, biggest of all. It is a rebellion of body
against separation from soul. It is uncontrollable, and it's
like two kingdoms, or two nations merged voluntarily
without declaring a war. Staring like freaks and sneering,
the crowd have got a good mind to wait for severe punishment
for love is said to be blind. But would it be worth getting married
if we were to decide to cure ourselves from happiness,
the pleasure of being blind? If blindness is laughed at squeamishly,
then, I imagine, the world can perish from an explosion,
and rise from a whispered word.
I fancy, I've already loved you.
I fancy, I've already killed you.
But you revived embodied in a girl,
as an ingenuous figure on a ball;
your body bent, you try to keep your balance -
as if you were from Picasso's canvass.
You ask me with your heart and soul:
'Do love me! ', like ' Don't push me off the ball! '
I am that weary acrobatic man,