Eratosphere Forums - Metrical Poetry, Free Verse, Fiction, Art, Critique, Discussions Able Muse - a review of poetry, prose and art

Forum Left Top

Notices

Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Unread 06-25-2022, 10:05 AM
Carl Copeland Carl Copeland is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2022
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
Posts: 597
Default Akhmatova, “To the City of Pushkin”

Here’s another diptych that Akhmatova wrote 36 years later about the same town and royal estate, Tsarskoye Selo, where she spent much of her childhood. Pushkin was among the first graduates of the Imperial Lycée, which operated on the grounds of the estate from 1811 to 1844. Tsarskoye Selo was renamed Pushkin in 1937 and was badly damaged during the Nazi occupation of 1941-44.


To the City of Pushkin

And Tsarskoye Selo’s protective canopy …
                                        Alexander Pushkin

                    1

O, woe is me! They set you all ablaze …
O, meeting harder still than separation!
Here stood a fountain, lofty tree-lined ways
and, further off, a park immense and ancient.
The dawn outshone itself, so red its rays.
In April here the earth was damp and fragrant,
and my first kiss …

                    2

This willow tree’s leaves in the previous century faded,
to glisten in verse with a silver that’s fresher by far.
Wild roses have turned into sweet briar, lavender shaded,
and the old Lycée songs are as rousing as ever before.
Half a century’s passed … By a marvelous destiny driven,
I lost track of the years in the round of oblivious days.
And I’ll never go back! But, in outlines eternally living,
I will bear over Lethe my glittering gardens and glades.

1957


Городу Пушкина

И царскосельские хранительные сени...
                                                  Пушкин

                    1

О, горе мне! Они тебя сожгли...
О, встреча, что разлуки тяжелее!..
Здесь был фонтан, высокие аллеи,
Громада парка древнего вдали,
Заря была себя самой алее,
В апреле запах прели и земли,
И первый поцелуй...

                    2

Этой ивы листы в девятнадцатом веке увяли,
Чтобы в строчке стиха серебриться свежее стократ.
Одичалые розы пурпурным шиповником стали,
А лицейские гимны все так же заздравно звучат.
Полстолетья прошло... Щедро взыскана дивной судьбою,
Я в беспамятстве дней забывала теченье годов.—
И туда не вернусь! Но возьму и за Лету с собою
Очертанья живые моих царскосельских садов.


Literal translation:

To the City of Pushkin

And Tsarskoye Selo’s protective canopy ...
                                                  Pushkin

                    1

O, woe is me! They set you afire ...
O, meeting that is harder than separation!
Here there was a fountain, high walks/alleys,
the immensity of an ancient park in the distance;
the dawn was more crimson than itself;
in April there was the smell of dampness and earth,
and [my] first kiss ...

                    2

The leaves of this willow withered in the nineteenth century,
to glisten like silver a hundred times fresher in a line of verse.
Wild roses have become purple sweet briar/dog rose,
and the Lycée anthems still sound just as rousing.
A half century has passed ... Abundantly punished/rewarded by a marvelous destiny,
in the obliviousness of days, I forgot the flow of the years.
And I won’t go back there! But I will take with me across the Lethe
the outlines of my living/vivid Tsarskoye Selo gardens.


Edits
2-L8: o’er the Lethe my beautiful > over Lethe my glittering

Last edited by Carl Copeland; 06-30-2022 at 05:59 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Unread 06-27-2022, 07:34 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
Posts: 9,607
Default

Carl, in the last line of part 2, "o'er" has to go. I'd write "over Lethe" or "across Lethe" instead. I also think that "beautiful" is a less vivid word than you want in that line. I will say that the "driven/living" rhyme grates on me. It seems to want me to pronounce the latter "livin'" and that feels sloppy and wrong to me.

Susan
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Unread 06-27-2022, 09:37 AM
Carl Copeland Carl Copeland is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2022
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
Posts: 597
Default

Thank you, Susan. I avoid archaisms more than I used to, but still find them pretty on occasion, not to mention handy. Do you mean to tell me that today even one as inoffensive as “o’er” is taboo? Pity, but I guess I can get used to “over Lethe.” I doubt I can do anything about “driven/living,” but I do want to know what grates on you and will take it into consideration. With “beautiful,” you put your finger on a weak spot. I stuck it in at the last moment to replace “Tsarskoye’s” after you and David convinced me that the Russian name was too much to throw at innocent readers. “Glorious” or “radiant” would work, but I think I’ll try “own precious” for the moment.

UPDATE: No, I don't like it. Maybe “dearly loved.”

Carl

Last edited by Carl Copeland; 06-27-2022 at 11:36 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Unread 06-27-2022, 11:55 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 6,630
Default

Hi Carl,

I like driven-living myself! It feels a bit Dylanesque to me, clever and elegant in using the capacities of English. On a very hasty read, I think I prefer S1.

Cheers,
John
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Unread 06-27-2022, 12:08 PM
Carl Copeland Carl Copeland is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2022
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
Posts: 597
Default

Thanks, John, but if you mean Bob Dylan, you’re sort of proving Susan’s point: he’d sing it “livin’.” I don’t suppose you mean Dylan Thomas, though he’s the one who first turned me on to slant rhyme many years ago. Either way, “Dylanesque” is a fine compliment, because I happen to love both.

Carl
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Unread 06-27-2022, 08:30 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 6,630
Default

Hi Carl,

Yes, I’m thinking of Bob, but even without dropping the g the rhyme doesn’t bother me unduly.

Cheers,
John
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



Forum Right Top
Forum Left Bottom Forum Right Bottom
 
Right Left
Member Login
Forgot password?
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Statistics:
Forum Members: 8,276
Total Threads: 21,290
Total Posts: 267,521
There are 143 users
currently browsing forums.
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Sponsor:
Donate & Support Able Muse / Eratosphere
Forum LeftForum Right
Right Right
Right Bottom Left Right Bottom Right

Hosted by ApplauZ Online