Thursday, March 31, 2016

Translation of poem by VLADIMIR MAYAKOVSKY, "Хорошее отношение к лошадям" TREATING HORSIES NICE

Mayakovsky in 1910

Vladimir Mayakovsky

Treating Horsies Nice

Hoofbeats were pounding out,
Seeming to sing:

Shit-faced on wind,
Brogans in ice,
The street lost its grip
On the ground.
Down on his rump
Came crashing a horsie,
Gapers and lollygags
Gathered around.
Guffawers, hehawers,
Jack-assèd grin-jawers:
“What a lark!
It’s a gas!
A horse done fell down
On his ass!”
I was the onliest beast in the pack
Who eschewed sneeriness,
Lewd smirks and leeriness.
Walks up, does I,
Takes a look in the eye
Of Horsiemus fallimus

The street in that eye
Upside-down rolled awry…
Walked up, did I
And I seen:
Horsie-tears, big and hot,
Down the snout dribbly-drop,
Damping the horsie-hide wet…

And some sort of generalized
Animal anguish
Came supersized
From out of my
“Listen now, horsie,
Horsie, don’t cry.
You’ll have your neigh
At the sky by and by.
Horsiekins, all of us
Have in us dorkiness;
Humanness often is worsen
Than horsiness.”

Could be he was old,
And in need of no nanny,
Could be that my plea
Was insulting to he.

That horsie
Lurched up and
Stood tall
On his leggywegs,
Whinnied out sweet
And set off down the street.
Swishing his tail, well!
Don’t he look swell!
Happily made it home,
Stood in his stall
(Forgotten the fall),
Feeling a colt again,
Crunching his oats again.
Ain’t life a ball
In spite of it all?

(translated by U.R. Bowie; liberties have been taken with the literal text, with the aim of preserving the rhythms, the tone, and the subject matter of the original)

Mar. 31, 2016

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