Friday, August 5, 2022

Translation of Poem/Song by Rasul Gamzatov, Расул Гамзатов, "Журавли," THE CRANES


Расул Гамзатов



Мне кажется порою, что солдаты,
С кровавых не пришедшие полей,
Не в землю эту полегли когда-то,
А превратились в белых журавлей.

Они до сей поры с времен тех дальних
Летят и подают нам голоса.
Не потому ль так часто и печально
Мы замолкаем, глядя в небеса?


Сегодня, предвечернею порою,
Я вижу, как в тумане журавли
Летят своим определенным строем,
Как по полям людьми они брели.


Они летят, свершают путь свой длинный
И выкликают чьи-то имена.
Не потому ли с кличем журавлиным
От века речь аварская сходна?


Летит, летит по небу клин усталый -
Летит в тумане на исходе дня,
И в том строю есть промежуток малый -
Быть может, это место для меня!


Настанет день, и с журавлиной стаей
Я поплыву в такой же сизой мгле,
Из-под небес по-птичьи окликая
Всех вас, кого оставил на земле.



(Перевод с аварского Наума Гребнева)



Literal Translation


The Cranes


Sometimes it seems to me that soldiers

Who have not returned from bloody fields

Lie not in the ground of this earth,

But have turned into white cranes.


To this very day from those far-distant times

They fly and send their voices to us.

Is not this why so frequently and sadly

We fall silent when gazing at the skies?


Today, in the time just before twilight,

I see the cranes in fog,

Flying in their designated ranks,

Just as they, when still people, traipsed across the fields.


They fly, they complete their long journey,

While crying out the names of someone.

Is this not why from time out of mind

The cries of cranes are similar to the Avar language?


On it flies through the sky, that weary wedge,

It flies in haze towards the end of day,

In in the formation there is one small break,

Could be that’s a place reserved for me!


The day will come, and along with the flock of cranes

I’ll fly through that same dove-blue mist,

Chirping my bird cries from beyond the heavens,

Calling out to all of you whom I left on earth.




Literary Translation/Adaptation by U.R. Bowie


The Cranes


Could be, it seems at times, that soldiers fallen,

Who breathed their last on fields of bloody strife,

Lie not beneath the earth in graves crestfallen,

But fly as white cranes toward a new, pure life.

Since distant times when they this earth departed,

They fly above and send to us their cries.

Is this why we’re despondent and downhearted,

When silently we gaze at empty skies?

These days I peer in time of evening twilight

At cranes who fly through mist near day’s demise.  

They fly aligned, their ranks at ease, dressed right,

As once they marched as soldiers through their lives.

So on they fly, on their wraithlike excursion,

While crying out what sound like long-lost names.

Is this not why the Avars find diversion

In speaking words that sound like cries of cranes?


They fly through skies in weary wedge formation,

In haze toward end of day’s bleak fading light.

The wedge has one small gap, an indentation,

Could that be where I fit into the flight?

The day will come when that dove-blue migration

I’ll join on high, fly with the cranes aligned;

While calling from a spot void of privation,

I’ll send my best to those I’ve left behind.


(original poem written in the Avar language; translated into Russian by Naum Grebnyov)

 Song and background of how the poem came to be written:

Monday, August 1, 2022

Yellowished Means Wellowished, from Bobby Goosey's Nonsense Verse for Kids


Bobby Goosey

Yellowished Means Wellowished

Wishes are colored light yellowish

When the wishes are wished in a shimmer of sun.

Never wish wishes beneath cloudy skies,

For cloudy-wished wishes are mellowish.

You want your wishes light yellowish.


Why are best wishes light yellowish?

Why wish your wishes in dazzling sunshine?

Why not wish wishes dull mellowish?

Well. Light-yellow wishes are bound to come true.

God tends to favor them; Allah does too.


So wish all your wishes light yellowish;

Wish wishes always in sun’s shimmer-gleam.

And when all your light-yellow wishing is done,

Pack up your wishes in boxes and run

Off through the pines; take a wishy fun-run.


Be sure you’ve labelled the boxes as follows:

“Wishes boxed up in light yellowish.

These boxed-up wishes aren’t mellowish.

These wishes quaver like lemony jellowish.

Wishes well wished, wishes wellowished.”


[Original date of composition: some time in the 1970s or 1980s

Revised, rewritten by Bobby Lee Goosey, July 31, 2022]

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Translation of Poem by NIKOLAI ZABOLOTSKY, Николай Заболоцкий, "Детство," "CHILDHOOD"


Николай Заболоцкий



Огромные глаза, как у нарядной куклы,
Раскрыты широко. Под стрелами ресниц,
Доверчиво-ясны и правильно округлы,
Мерцают ободки младенческих зениц.


На что она глядит? И чем необычаен
И сельский этот дом, и сад, и огород,
Где, наклонясь к кустам, хлопочет их хозяин,
И что-то, вяжет там, и режет, и поет?

Два тощих петуха дерутся на заборе,
Шершавый хмель ползет по столбику крыльца.
А девочка глядит. И в этом чистом взоре
Отображен весь мир до самого конца.

Он, этот дивный мир, поистине впервые
Очаровал ее, как чудо из чудес,
И в глубь души ее, как спутники живые,
Вошли и этот дом, и этот сад, и лес.

И много минет дней. И боль сердечной смуты
И счастье к ней придет. Но и жена, и мать,
Она блаженный смысл короткой той минуты
Вплоть до седых волос всё будет вспоминать.





Literal Translation




Enormous eyes, like an elegant doll’s,

Opened wide. Beneath the arrows of eyelashes,

Trustingly clear and perfectly rounded,

At their rims shine her childish pupils.


What is she looking at? And what’s so unusual

About that village house, the garden, vegetable plot,

Where, bending toward the bushes, the owner fusses about,

Tying something up, cutting something, and singing?


Two scraggly roosters are fighting on the fence,

A rough hop-vine climbs the post of the porch.

And the little girl goes on looking. And in that pure gaze

The whole world to its very end is reflected.


It, that wondrous world, truly for the first time

Has captivated her, like the most marvelous of marvels,

And into the depths of her soul, like living fellow travelers,

Have entered both that house, and that garden, and the forest.


And many days will pass. And both the pain of a heart in turmoil

And happiness will be her lot. But even as a wife, as a mother,

Even until the gray hair on her head, she will recall

The blessed sense of that brief moment.




Literary Translation/Adaptation by U.R. Bowie




Eyes that are huge under eyelashes shadow,

The eyes of an elegant doll, sparkling, clear;

Trusting and rounded, wide-open, they glow,

The childish pupils take in all that is near. 


What is she looking at? What’s there appealing

In the cottage, the garden and vegetable plot,

Where, bending towards bushes, her father is kneeling,

Humming and fixing and trimming black rot?


Two scraggly roosters near trellis are fighting,

On front porch a hop-vine ascends the near post.

The girl gazes on, in her eyes pure, inviting,

The world is reflected to its ultimate endmost.


That marvel of marvels, the world rife with wonders,

Has mesmerized her for the very first time,

And that house, and the garden, the trees in vast numbers

Congregate in her soul, where they quaver and chime.


And the years will fly by; she’ll know the heart’s passion.

She’ll be happy and sad, a wife and mother be.

But then even later, with hair gray and ashen,

In her memory that brief precious moment she’ll see.



Friday, July 22, 2022

DUMB, from "Bobby Goosey's Compendium of Perfectly Sensible Nonsense"


Bobby Goosey


Clinchpoop, boogerkinny, sillyninny, rube,

Knothead, twittynit, nitwitted boob,

Numbskull, scumwull, fuddle-muddle gut;

Do I think you’re stupid? No!

You’re dumb, dumb, dumb,

That’s what!


Bumfungered buffarilla, doodlesniptous nit,

Louty lummox, nincompoopy, gawky-noggined git,

Gumpnoodled lumpkin, fusty filbertnut;

Do I think you’re brainless? No!

You’re dumb, dumb, dumb,

That’s what!


Sappyheaded, gappyshredded ninny-noddy goose,

Imbecilic lunky-mazzard, boobyscrews all loose,

Doltwitted, boneheaded cloodynoodleglut;

Do I think you’re feebleminded?

Do I think you’re addle-pated?

Do I think you’re snoodle-sconced? No!

You’re just dumb dumb dumb


That’s what!

[excerpted from book by U.R. Bowie, Here We Be. Where Be We?]

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Translation of Poem by EVGENY EVTUSHENKO, Евгений Евтушенко, "Дай бог," "GOD GRANT"


Евгений Евтушенко


Дай бог

Дай бог слепцам глаза вернуть
и спины выпрямить горбатым.
Дай бог быть богом хоть чуть-чуть,
но быть нельзя чуть-чуть распятым.


Дай бог не вляпаться во власть
и не геройствовать подложно,
и быть богатым — но не красть,
конечно, если так возможно.


Дай бог быть тертым калачом,
не сожранным ничьею шайкой,
ни жертвой быть, ни палачом,
ни барином, ни попрошайкой.


Дай бог поменьше рваных ран,
когда идет большая драка.
Дай бог побольше разных стран,
не потеряв своей, однако.


Дай бог, чтобы твоя страна
тебя не пнула сапожищем.
Дай бог, чтобы твоя жена
тебя любила даже нищим.


Дай бог лжецам замкнуть уста,
глас божий слыша в детском крике.
Дай бог живым узреть Христа,
пусть не в мужском, так в женском лике.


Не крест — бескрестье мы несем,
а как сгибаемся убого.
Чтоб не извериться во всем,
Дай бог ну хоть немного Бога!


Дай бог всего, всего, всего
и сразу всем — чтоб не обидно…
Дай бог всего, но лишь того,
за что потом не станет стыдно.





Literal Translation


God Grant


God grant to the blind that they get their eyes back

And that the hunchbacked have spines made straight.

God grant [one] to be in some small degree a god,

But in no small degree need one be crucified.


God grant us not to blunder into power [roughly: get mixed up in politics]

And not to play the phony hero,

And to be rich—but not to steal,

If, of course, that’s possible.


God grant [us] a freshly grated loaf of bread (roll)

Not chomped on by anyone’s gang,

[God grant us] to be neither a sacrifice (victim) nor a hangman,

Neither a nobleman, nor a panhandler.


God grant we end up with few lacerations

When we get in a big fight.

God grant there be more of all different countries,

Assuming we don’t lose our own, that is.


God grant that your own country

Not kick you with a big clodhopper.

God grant that your wife

Love you even if you’re destitute.


God grant that liars keep it quiet

When they hear the voice of God in the cry of a child.

God grant that the living get to see Christ Himself,

If not in the face of man, then in the face of woman.


We bear not a cross; we bear crosslessness,

But how wretchedly it bends us down.

In order not to lose faith in everything,

God grant [us] at least a little bit of God!


God grant everything, everything, everything

And immediately to all; so as not to offend anyone . . .

God grant everything, but only the sort of things

For which later on we won’t feel ashamed.





Literary Translation/Adaptation by U.R. Bowie


God Grant


God grant to the blind their sight to return,

To the hunchbacks straight spines, sans afflictions.

God grant some small godliness humans may learn,

But spare us the whips, crucifixions. 


God grant that we lord over none, nobody,

And not play the hero, or flaunt fakery,  

Make lots of money—but honest still be,

Or does money come only with dishonesty?


God grant us a nice slice of freshly baked bread,

Not chomped on by vile creeps and goonies,

And spare us beheading, but let’s not behead, 

Be neither a grandee, a beggar or loonie.


God grant when involved in a nasty melee

We come out with only a few lacerations.

As long as we have our own dam and spillway,

May rivers and spillways flow on in all nations.


God grant us not to be kicked in the butt

By the boot of our homeland (a great big clodhopper).

God grant that your wife learn to keep her mouth shut,

And love you and cherish, even if you’re a pauper.


God grant that the liars don’t set the zeitgeist,

Let’s hear God’s sweet voice in a child’s galimatias.

God grant that we mortals can somehow see Christ,

If not in men’s faces, then womanly faces.


Though we bear not a cross we bear crosslessness,

Which bends us and weighs us most wretchedly down.

So as not to lose heart and feel lostlessness,

God grant us a wee bit of God in the round.


God grant us our wishes, our all, everything,

And so’s to be fair, may He grant grace to all . . .

But please God, don’t grant us some vile anything

For which later on we’ll lament, moan and bawl.



декламирует Евтушенко:

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Translation of poem by EVGENY EVTUSHENKO, Евгений Евтушенко, "Тайны," "MYSTERIES"


Евгений Евтушенко



Тают отроческие тайны,
как туманы на берегах…
Были тайнами — Тони, Тани,
даже с цыпками на ногах.

Были тайнами звёзды, звери,
под осинами стайки опят,
и скрипели таинственно двери —
только в детстве так двери скрипят.

Возникали загадки мира,
словно шарики изо рта
обольстительного факира,
обольщающего неспроста.

Оволшебленные снежинки

опускались в полях и лесах.

Оволшебленные смешинки

У девчонок плясали в глазах.


Мы таинственно что-то шептали
на таинственном льду катка,
и пугливо, как тайна к тайне,
прикасалась к руке рука…

Но пришла неожиданно взрослость.
Износивший свой фрак до дыр,
в чьё-то детство, как в дальнюю область,
гастролировать убыл факир.

Мы, как взрослые, им забыты.
Эх, факир, ты плохой человек.
Нетаинственно до обиды
нам на плечи падает снег.

Где вы, шарики колдовские?
Нетаинственно мы грустим.
Нетаинственны нам другие,
да и мы нетаинственны им.

Ну, а если рука случайно
прикасается, гладя слегка,
это только рука, а не тайна,
понимаете — только рука!

Дайте тайну простую-простую,
тайну — робость и тишину,
тайну худенькую, босую…
тайнухотя бы одну!



Literal Translation


Adolescent mysteries are melting,

Like mists on riverbanks . . .

There were mysteries—Tonyas, Tanyas,

Even with chilblains on their legs.


The stars, the wild animals were mysteries,

Under the aspens the clusters of honey agaric mushrooms,

And mysteriously doors would creak—

Only in childhood do doors so creak.


Enigmas of the world emerged,

Like little balls from out of the mouth

Of a seductive conjuror,

Who seduces to some devious end.


Enchanted snowflakes

Drifted down on the fields and the woods.

Enchanted specks of laughter

Danced in the eyes of the girls.


Mysteriously we whispered something

On the mysterious ice of the rink,

And timidly, like a mystery to a mystery,

We touched hand to hand . . .


But suddenly (unexpectantly) adulthood came.

Having worn down his frockcoat to tatters,

The conjurer absconded, went off on a gig

Into someone else’s childhood, as if to a far-off province.


We, as grownups are forgotten by him.

Hey, conjuror, you’re a bad guy.

Non-mysteriously to a fault

The snow falls on our shoulders.


Where are you, little magic balls?

Un-mysteriously we grieve.

Others are not a mystery to us,

And we are no mystery to them.


And if by chance a hand touches,

Lightly caressing another hand,

That’s only a hand, and not a mystery,

You understand? Only a hand!


Give me a garden-variety mystery,

A mystery—shyness and silence,

A puny, barefoot little one . . .

Give me a mystery—at least just one!





Literary Translation/Adaptation by U.R. Bowie




They liquesce, mist away, the secrets of youth,

Like riverbank haze in late sun’s twilight . . .

Lasses mysterious—Tashas and Ruths,

Chilblains on their legs and a slight overbite.


Some of the secrets were stars or wild beasts,

Or agaric mushrooms in clusters ’neath aspens,

And O so mysterious were the door-creaks,

In childhood only do doors make such raspings.  


This world’s secret riddles were all put on show,

The spheroids he juggled with legerdemain,

That spellbinding wizard whose act reeked of faux,

His wizardry tasting of fake frangipane.


Soft clumps of snow steeped in rapturous sigh

Floated, alighted on woodlands and prairies.   

Enraptured specks of laughs danced by

In eyes of girls, our contemporaries.  


On reticent ice at mysterious rinks

We whispered our secretive soft billet-douxs,

And timidly, miming its cryptic lip syncs,

A hand touched a hand with sheer mystery suffused.  


But all of a sudden we came out adults.

His frockcoat worn down to threadbareness,

Absconded the wizard, from our world avulsed,

Went off on a new gig, left us unawareness.


Now that we’re grown he’s a show-biz no-show.

Hey, wizard, you mean scalawag!

Insipid are flakes of derapturized snow,

On our shoulders trite snow, what a drag.


Little spheroids of magic, where are you?

Shed of mystery our pale facial features.

The creatures around us no mysteries accrue,

And we’re no more mystery to creatures.


A hand comes in contact with some hand perchance,

Say, touches that other hand, stroking;

That’s only a hand, not a sweet circumstance,

You get me? Pedestrian poking!


So bring me a volatile mystery, you hear?

Send me one secret, clandestine and diffident,

Just a puny and furtive one, barefoot, austere,

Small potatoes but somehow munificent!