Sunday, March 14, 2021

Translation of Poem by IVAN BUNIN, "My Dear Lord God (Endless Rain, and Forest Fog)"


Иван Бунин


Льёт без конца. В лесу туман...

Льёт без конца. В лесу туман.
Качают ёлки головою:
«Ах, боже мой!» Лес точно пьян,
Пресыщен влагой дождевою.

В сторожке тёмной у окна
Сидит и ложкой бьёт ребёнок.
Мать на печи, - всё спит она,
В сырых сенях мычит теленок.

В сторожке грусть, мушиный гуд…
— Зачем в лесу звенит овсянка,
Грибы растут, цветы цветут
И травы ярки, как медянка?

— Зачем под мерный шум дождя,
Томясь всем миром и сторожкой,
Большеголовое дитя
Долбит о подоконник ложкой?

Мычит теленок, как немой,
И клонят горестные ёлки
Свои зеленые иголки:
«Ах, боже мой! Ах
, боже мой

May 10, 1923




Literal Translation


It [rain] pours endlessly. In the forest there is fog.

The firs trees shake their heads:

“Oh, my God,” The forest seems drunk,

Saturated with rainwater.


In the dark watchman’s lodge by the window

Sits a child and bangs with a spoon.

His mother lies on the stove, goes on sleeping,

While in the damp vestibule a calf is bleating.

In the lodge there is gloom, the buzz of flies . . .

“Why is the yellow bunting [yellow-hammer (bird)] singing in the forest?

[Why do] mushrooms grow, and flowers bloom

And the grass is bright as verdigris?


And why, to the steady din of the rain,

Tormented by all of the world and by the lodge,

Does that large-headed child

Keep pounding with a spoon on the windowsill?”


The calf bleats like a mute person,

And the sorrowful firs bend down

Their green needles:

“Oh, my God! Oh, my God!”


May 10, 1923





Literary Translation/Adaptation by U.R. Bowie


My Dear Lord God

Endless rain, and forest fog,

With tossing heads perplexed fir trees;

The woods seem drunk; my dear Lord God,

This soaked-wet world is ill at ease.


By windowsill in watchman’s shack

A child sits and taps a spoon.

His mother sleeps on stove soot-black,

A calf nearby bleats out of tune.


In gloomy shack the buzz of flies . . .

Outside the bunting trills her notes,

And mushrooms grow, I don’t know why,

And flowers bloom, and green grass gloats.


Why does he pound to the din of the rain?

Because life’s a malaise, with uneasiness strewn;

That boy with the large head, rain on his brain,

Taps on the windowsill, beats with his spoon.


Like some deaf-mute the calf grunts on,

The writhing firs, grief-stricken, awed,

Their needles green, bent, woebegone, 

Oh dear, my God, my dear Lord God!

May 10, 1923






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