Мы живем, под собою не чуя страны,
Наши речи за десять шагов не слышны,
А где хватит на полразговорца,
Там припомнят кремлёвского горца.
Его толстые пальцы, как черви, жирны,
А слова, как пудовые гири, верны,
Тараканьи смеются усища,
И сияют его голенища.
А вокруг него сброд тонкошеих вождей,
Он играет услугами полулюдей.
Кто свистит, кто мяучит, кто хнычет,
Он один лишь бабачит и тычет,
Как подкову, кует за указом указ:
Кому в пах, кому в лоб, кому в бровь, кому в глаз.
Что ни казнь у него - то малина
И широкая грудь осетина.
Осип Мандельштам, ноябрь 1933
"We live without feeling the country beneath us..."
Translated by David McDuff in
Osip Mandelstam: Selected Poems;
River Press Ltd. 1973, also: Writers and Readers 1983.
"We are alive but no longer feel the land under our feet..."
Richard and Elizabeth McKane in
Osip Mandelstam: The Moscow Notebooks;
Bloodaxe Books, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1991.
"We exist, without sensing our country beneath us..."
James Green in
Osip Mandelstam: Selected Poems;
Penguin books, 1991. ISBN 0-14-018474-0
"We live, not sensing our own country beneath us..."
Our lives no longer feel ground under them.
At ten paces you can't hear our words.
But whenever there's a snatch of talk
it turns to the Kremlin mountaineer,
the ten thick worms his fingers,
his words like measures of weight,
the huge laughing cockroaches on his top lip,
the glitter of his boot-rims.
Ringed with a scum of chicken-necked bosses
he toys with the tributes of half-men.
One whistles, another meows, a third snivels.
He pokes out his finger and he alone goes boom.
He forges decrees in a line like horseshoes,
One for the groin, one the forehead, temple, eye.
He rolls the executions on his tongue like berries.
He wishes he could hug them like big friends from home.
We live, not sensing our own country beneath us,
Ten steps away they dissolve, our speeches,
But where enough meet for half-conversation,
The Kremlin hillbilly is our preoccupation.
They're like slimy worms, his fat fingers,
His words, as solid as weights of measure.
In his cockroach moustaches there's a hint
Of laughter, while below his top boots gleam.
Round him a mob of thin-necked henchmen,
He pursues the enslavement of the half-men.
One whimpers, another warbles,
A third miaows, but he alone prods and probes.
He forges decree after decree, like horseshoes-
In groins, foreheads, in eyes, and eyebrows.
Wherever an execution's happening though-
there's raspberry, and the Ossetian's giant torso.
Our senses grew numb in this country of fear;
At ten paces they can't our talk overhear.
But if we start a chat on occasion,
Each would speak of the Kremlin Caucasian.
Fat as maggots, his thick fingers wriggle and crawl,
Sure as stone weights, his ponderous sentences fall;
His moustache of a cockroach is grinning,
And his well-polished boot-tops are beaming.
Fawning "leaders" surround him: some go others come,
As he plays with this hideous, half-human scum.
Someone hoots, someone howls, someone hisses,
But his goad driving them never misses.
His pernicious decrees tosses he low and high
Like horseshoes, in the groin, in the ear, in the eye.
This broad-chested Ossetian is willing
To derive sweetest pleasures from killing.
We are living, but can't feel the land where we stay,
More than ten steps away you can't hear what we say.
But if people would talk on occasion,
They should mention the Kremlin Caucasian.
His thick fingers are bulky and fat like live-baits,
And his accurate words are as heavy as weights.
Cucaracha's moustaches are screaming,
And his boot-tops are shining and gleaming.
But around him a crowd of thin-necked henchmen,
And he plays with the services of these half-men.
Some are whistling, some meowing, some sniffing,
He's alone booming, poking and whiffing.
He is forging his rules and decrees like horseshoes -
Into groins, into foreheads, in eyes, and eyebrows.
Every killing for him is delight,
And Ossetian torso is wide.
Here we live, but don't feel any country around,
Hardly dare to talk, barely step on the ground,
Are afraid of the terrible gremlin,
Our leader, the hillman from Kremlin.
His short fingers are fat and are greasy like worms,
And like cast iron weights are correct all his words,
In his roach moustache smile is hiding,
And his bootlegs are shining and blinding.
And around him, the rabble of chiefs with thin necks,
Tent-supporters, half-human, half-poles and pegs,
Some are whistling, some sniveling, some nodding;
He alone is just poking and prodding,
And is hammering like shoes his edicts and decrees:
Some to hang, some to shoot, some to fry, some to freeze.
New Jack Ketch, he 's by far very best,
And Ossetian wide is his chest.
VG, 17 июля 2013