Dim-witted Pleasure, Sergei Yesenin


This was written in 1918. Perhaps Yesenin’s early enthusiasm for the Revolution is already diminishing; perhaps here are the seeds of the depression that led him to commit suicide in 1925. (The photo above shows him with Isadora Duncan, the American dancer who was (very) briefly his wife. She died when her scarf became entangled in the wheels of the car she was driving…)

Now it’s here, dim-witted pleasure –
See, through white windows beyond!
Russet, like swan at her leisure,
Shimmers the sun on the pond.

Greetings, gilt peaceable moment,
Birch’s reflection on pool!
Flocking crows cackle insistent
Starwards their prayer of the fool.

Timid from yard sound escaping
Cry from the blossoming rose,
Girl in white gently is singing
Ballad of gentle repose.

There a robe blueish is spreading –
Chill of the night on the field…
Pleasure, sweet, feckless, embedding
Freshly in rosy cheeks’ yield!


Вот оно, глупое счастье
С белыми окнами в сад!
По пруду лебедем красным
Плавает тихий закат.

Здравствуй, златое затишье,
С тенью березы в воде!
Галочья стая на крыше
Служит вечерню звезде.

Где-то за садом несмело,
Там, где калина цветет,
Нежная девушка в белом
Нежную песню поет.

Стелется синею рясой
С поля ночной холодок…
Глупое, милое счастье,
Свежая розовость щек!

Translation by Rupert Moreton

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