Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Russian Poetry! :)

I would like to take the time to tell you about one of Russia's greatest poets. There are a few that should be named to have such a title but I want to focus on Александр Блок or in Latin letters, Aleksandr Blok. Блок was born on November 28, 1880 in St. Petersburg, Russia. He was born to a father who was a lawyer, musician, and writer and a mother who was a домохозяйка. Блок's parents separated when he was young and he group up in the house of his mother's family who were a richly intellectual millieu; where Блок's talent and potential was generously indulged. Блок started writing verse at age 5 but it was not until age 18 that he began writing serious work. Originally, in 1898 Блок entered the law faculty of St. Petersburg University but 3 years later he realized his love for literature was too string to not pursue as a lifelong career. He was inspired mostly by 19th century romantic poetry and the work of Василий Жуковский (Vasily Zhukovsky). One poem that I found and enjoyed the most is called "To the Muse" or "Музе" and below I have both the Russian and English. If you like poetry, there are a lot more to poems to read of Блок.

Музе/To the Muse

Есть в напевах твоих сокровенных
Роковая о гибели весть.
Есть проклятье заветов священных,
Поругание счастия есть.

И такая влекущая сила,
Что готов я твердить за молвой,
Будто ангелов ты низводила,
Соблазняя своей красотой...

И когда ты смеешься над верой,
Над тобой загорается вдруг
Тот неяркий, пурпурово-серый
И когда-то мной виденный круг.

Зла, добра ли? - Ты вся - не отсюда.
Мудрено про тебя говорят:
Для иных ты - и Муза, и чудо.
Для меня ты - мученье и ад.

Я не знаю, зачем на рассвете,
В час, когда уже не было сил,
Не погиб я, но лик твой заметил
И твоих утешений просил?

Я хотел, чтоб мы были врагами,
Так за что ж подарила мне ты
Луг с цветами и твердь со звездами -
Всё проклятье своей красоты?

И коварнее северной ночи,
И хмельней золотого Аи,
И любови цыганской короче
Были страшные ласки твои...

И была роковая отрада
В попираньи заветных святынь,
И безумная сердцу услада -
Эта горькая страсть, как полынь!

29 декабря 1912
In your innermost songs there are hidden
Fateful tidings of death.
A curse on sacred commandments,
And a profanation of joy.

And such an alluring strength
That I'm ready to pass on the rumor
That you brought angels down
With your seductive beauty...

And when you mock faith
That dim, purplish-gray 
Circle I've seen before 
Suddenly blazes above you

Evil or good? - You're thoroughly alien.
People speak of you enigmatically:
For some you are Muse and miracle
For me you are torment and hell.

I don't know why, at dawn,
At the time of my last strength,
Rather than die, I caught sight of your face
And begged your consolation.

I wanted us to be enemies,
So why did you present me
With flowering meadows, the starry vault- 
The curse of your beauty?

More treacherous than a northern night,
More heady than golden champagne,
And more fickle than a gypsy's love
Were your terrible caresses...

And there was a fatal delight
In flouting sacred truths,
And my heart was maddened
By this bitter, wormwood passion.

29 December 1912

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