Morning, Vladislav Khodasevich


This was written in 1916, which (I suppose) must account for its tone. What’s coming isn’t known yet; but the passing of the Romantic Age is certain. The tone is effectively set off by Khodasevich’s metre: the broken promise of the first and third lines, which don’t quite deliver an iambic pentameter; the coagulating, clumping second and fourth lines, which are a translator’s nightmare – very little scope for licence when there’s no room to swing a cat…

Too much, I can no longer look through
The window there!
Astringent, deathly, bitter preview –
What holds my stare?

Resounds on single note: “To parting
You are condemned!”
Our mapled lane is gold-soft turning
As leaves descend.

Of voice or clatter there is neither –
They’re far off yet…
But all the same it frightens either,
Or prompts regret.


Нет, больше не могу смотреть я
Туда, в окно!
О, это горькое предсмертье, –
К чему оно?

Во всем одно звучит: “Разлуке
Ты обречен!”
Как нежно в нашем переулке
Желтеет клен!

Ни голоса вокруг, ни стука,
Все та же даль…
А все-таки порою жутко,
Порою жаль.

Translation by Rupert Moreton

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