Radio Days and Irina Mashinski’s “The Room, January 1”

A few days before we bid farewell to 2016, my friends and colleagues Sasha Razor and David MacFadyen joined me for a LARB Radio Hour on Soviet New Year’s celebrations. Around the same time, I was given the opportunity to discuss 1917 on the RTÉ radio show Arena, hosted by Seán Rocks.

2017 is now with us, and in the spirit of new beginnings, I’d like to share Irina Mashinski’s beautiful poem “The Room, January 1,” which she and I translated together some years ago.

I’ll get it — just a little more and …
I’ll stand on tiptoe in the morning,
and then, come evening, I will reach
the tender fir tree’s ticklish withers,
forget about myself beneath it,
and feel the topmost needle’s touch.

All morning, the accordion’s
complaints were heard, the worrying
over my palm’s unlengthy line.
But toward evening, you are higher
than yourself — look, from the spire:
the tree, the winding road, the moon.

As if you’re on the downward slope of
your own years — so bright and hopeless,
alone, inside a rocking tram.
The view’s the same — and yet it’s altered.
Whom will you tell that you’ve just started,
a new force pulses through your palm?

Комната 1 января

Еще чуть-чуть — и я достану:
с утра нацыпочки привстану,
а к вечеру и дотянусь
до чуткой холки нежной елки,
иголки самой верхней, колкой,
себя внизу забыв, коснусь.

Все утро жалобы гармони,
и волновала на ладони
недлинной линии длина.
А к вечеру — как будто выше
себя самой, как будто в крыши —
дорога, дерево, луна.

Как будто ты уже на склоне
лет собственных. В пустом вагоне
остался, умный, в дураках.
В окне все также — но иначе
Кому сказать, что путь не начат
и силы прибыло в руках?


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