Thursday, July 25, 2013

Anna Akhmatova

Anna Akhmatova [Art Contrarian]

multiple views of a 1911 poem from Anna Akhmatova's first book, Evening:


То змейкой, свернувшись клубком,
У самого сердца колдует,
То целые дни голубком
На белом окошке воркует,

То в инее ярком блеснет,
Почудится в дреме левкоя...
Но верно и тайно ведет
От радости и от покоя.

Умеет так сладко рыдать
В молитве тоскующей скрипки,
И страшно ее угадать
В еще незнакомой улыбке.

[transliteration by Google Translate]

To zmeykoy, svernuvshis' klubkom,
U samogo serdtsa kolduyet,
To tselyye dni golubkom
Na belom okoshke vorkuyet,

To v ineye yarkom blesnet,
Pochuditsya v dreme levkoya . . .
No verno i tayno vedet
Ot radosti i ot pokoya.

Umeyet tak sladko rydat'
V molitve toskuyushchey skripki,
I strashno yeye ugadat'
V yeshche neznakomoy ulybke.

[my literal translation, without conjugation or declension, aided by Google Translate]

Snake, curling tangle,
in of the heart conjures,
that whole days dove
on white window coos,

that in frost bright flash,
seemed in sandman [slumber, doze] wallflowers . . .
but right and secretly leads
from joy and from rest.

Able to so sweetly sob
in prayer yearning violin,
and frightfully its guess
in more unknown smile.

Love [translated by A. S. Kline]

A snake, it coils
Bewitching the heart.
Day after day, coos
A dove on the white sill.

A bright flash in frost,
Drowsy night-scented stock . . .
Yet, sure and secret,
It’s far from peace and joy.

It knows how to weep sweetly
In the violin’s yearning prayer;
And is fearfully divined
In a stranger’s smile.

Love [translated by Judith Hemschemeyer]

Now, like a little snake, it curls into a ball,
Bewitching your heart,
Then for days it will coo like a dove
On the little white windowsill.

Or it will flash as bright frost,
Drowse like a gillyflower . . .
But surely and stealthily it will lead you away
From joy and tranquility.

It knows how to sob so sweetly
In the prayer of a yearning violin,
And how fearful to divine it
In a still unfamiliar smile.

Love [translated by Daniel Weissbort]

Tightly coiled, like a snake it sits
In my very heart, weaving spells
Or murmurs for days on end
Like a dove on my white windowsill.

In the sparkle of hoarfrost a gleam,
In the carnation's slumber a hint,
And secretly, surely it leads
From all joy and peace of mind.

It can sob so seductively, sigh
In the violin's yearning prayer.
And it happens, a stranger's smile
Fills me with a sudden fear.

Love  [translated by Lyudmila Purgina]
As a snake, coiling up in a knot, 
At the very heart she's conjuring. 
Or the whole day she's like tiny dove 
On the window white tender cooing. 
Or she sparkles in hoar-frost bright, 
And in dozing - like a gillyflower... 
But she surely, secretly guides 
You from a pleasure and from a quiet. 
She can sweetly and plaintively cry 
In a prayer of boring violin, 
And is awe now to guess her in smile, 
Yet unknown, though such greeting. 

Love [translated by D. M. Thomas]

Like a tiny snake coiled in a grove
It will charm you and frighten and thrill,
Then for days it will coo like a dove
On your little white windowsill.

It will drowse like a gillyflower,
Then flash like a brilliant hoar-frost . . .
But soon, before you’re aware,
To joy and to peace you’ll be lost.

It knows how to make you tearful
With a yearningly-sweet violin,
And a stranger’s smile — how fearful
As you guess that again it begins . . .

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