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The Journey to the West

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Poet

This is my translation of a poem by the great Anna Akhmatova.  I never would have started translating poetry or writing my own stuff if my wife hadn't given me a book of her poems.  I'm posting this today because I noticed yesterday that I received more hits on my blog from Russia than the US. 

The Poet

Who sees himself sidelong
Through eyes of the horse
By such divergent means
He recognizes instantly
How the puddle shines
As melted diamonds
And the ice fractures
Intricate as lace

Or in lilac repose
By the station platform
Noticing the logs leaves
And clouds piled high
And the steam engine’s hiss
And the crunch of watermelon rind
How she holds scented glove
So delicately in hand

Or at thundering pace
Launching out
To beat against the turf
Then suddenly slowing
To let heartbeat subside
On entering the forest pavilion
Advancing cautiously so as
Not to disturb things sleeping
In such a sacred place

Mentally taking note
Of each stalk of grain
To the graveyard 
He quietly returns
With hoof downward sloping 
And gracefully paws the earth 

And how once more 
Amidst Moscow's throngs
It ill behooves him
This burning
At the back of his throat
Yet he tries to find 
A livable space

Hearing far off the peal
Of the deathly bell
That tolls for one
Who lost the way
Knee deep in snow
But only steps away
From the front door
Of his home

But as he compared  
Rising smoke
To the Laocoon
And celebrated
The cemetery thistles
Braving the void
With the sound
Of his verse as it  
Reverberated in space

He found reward
In childhood eternal
With generosity aplenty
And a shining kind heart
Making the earth
An inheritance
To be shared


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