Neglected Poets at The Odessa Review

The kind people at The Odessa Review have published my brief essay on two Odessan poets who never achieved the success they seemed destined to achieve: Semyon Keselman (1889-1940) and Anatoly Fioletov (1897-1918). In the piece I offer my translation of Keselman’s jewel-like pre-Revolutionary lyric “I wait for love as for a tram at night,” which made a great impression on his contemporaries. I reproduce it here, below his portrait, along with the Russian original.

 

Keselman.jpg

I wait for love as for a tram at night,
peer through the dark while tears slip down my cheeks —
saying a spell, willing a point of light
to flare up somewhere down the street.

I wait. Quietly, like stars within a cistern,
reflections stir within my soul.
I wait and dream that in the damp of evening
light glides towards me through the cold.


Я жду любви, как позднего трамвая,
Гляжу во мглу до слёз, до боли глаз,
Творя волшбу, чтоб точка огневая
В конце пустынной улицы зажглась.

Я жду. В душе, — как Млечный путь в цистерне, —
Лишь отраженья зыблются одни.
И грезится, что в сырости вечерней
Уже скользят прозрачные огни.

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4 thoughts on “Neglected Poets at The Odessa Review

  1. It is indeed, and a lovely translation — I love the rhythms in “peer through the dark while tears slip down my cheeks —/ saying a spell, willing a point of light”! “Млечный путь в цистерне” reminds me of Mandelstam’s starry lyric “Умывался ночью на дворе.” (I’m amused by the Review‘s garbling of Almaznyi moi venets as “Almaznyi movenetsi” — I’m not sure whether “movenetsi” sounds more Romanian or Caucasian!)

    Liked by 1 person

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