No. 10 - 11


Nikolay Zabolotsky   

Translated from the Russian by Daniel Weissbort  



The Signs of the Zodia grow dimmer
over the expanse of fields,
Dog the animalis dozing,
Sparrow bird is fast asleep.
Breasts as round and firm as turnips,
fat-bottomed mermaids fly,
limbs as stout as staves and sturdy,
heading straight into the sky.
On a triangle a witch
turns into a puff of smoke,
with the wood-elves a deceased
nimbly dances the cakewalk.
After them, intoning palely,
wizards hunt the sprightly Fly,
with the moon, immobile lately,
above hilltops floating high.

Signs of the Zodiac grow dimmer
over village edifices,
Dog the animal, is sleeping,
so also Plaice the fish is.
Clack-clack-clack, a rattle goes,
Spider's resting on his oars.
Cow is sleeping, Fly is too,
right above them hangs the moon.,
Above the earth, a pan of water,
overturned, drifts in the skies.
A goblin from his shaggy beard
has plucked a beam... What a surprise!
 From behind the clouds, a siren
pokes a sweet extremity,
a cannibal has gnawed a
gent's... O, where's his decency!
General revelry's the ticket,
while in all directions fly
large baboons and Britons
witches and the smaller fry,.

Candidate of ages past,
captain of what lies ahead,
O, my mind!  These monstrous beings
folks can't get into their head.
In nature's crowded market-place,
indigent, besmeared with dirt,
what's the trouble,  freedom's monarch,
restless ashes of he earth?

Lofty is its dwelling place...
Late!  High time to settle down...
Mind, my wretched warrior,
you should slumber on till dawn.
Why have doubts, concerns?  Be bold!
The day is gone, and you and I,
half creaturely and half divine,
fall asleep upon he threshold
of a different laboring life.

Clack-clack-clack, a rattle goes,
Spider's resting on his oars.
Cow is sleeping, Fly is too,
right above hem hangs the moon.
Above the earth, a pan of water
overturned, drifts in he skies.
Spud the vegetable slumbers.
Sleep now, reader, close your eyes.


First appeared in Nikolay Zabolosky, Selected Poems,  
translated by Daniel Weissbort, Manchester,1999




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