Autumn (Осень), Vladislav Khodasevich


On balance, a failure. As always, I strove to be faithful to metre, but the erratic storm of the Russian probably sounds odd when transposed into English – and the quest for rhyme here was probably at the expense of accuracy. Here’s a translation that doesn’t attempt to reproduce the metre, and in this case is certainly the better for it.

Golden on altar glints light,
Windows with glass flowers are braided.
Come I to God’s temple, shedding the night,
Heart with the autumn has faded…
Heart of the prophet has faded…

Gruesome. Autumn’s ingesting,
Autumn everywhere is draping red curtains,
And jesting…
Wind – as a groan – it delayingly burdens.
Falling and dancing, the leaves are arresting.

Bright in the morning. In church am I. Early.
Quivering golden surrounds me the organ’s sound surly.
Heart with groaning extended is sickening,
Ulcerated, with needles it’s prickling,
Prickles with needles autumnal…
Prickles – autumnal.


Свет золотой в алтаре,
В окнах – цветистые стекла.
Я прихожу в этот храм на заре,
Осенью сердце поблёкло…
Вещее сердце – поблёкло…

Грустно. Осень пирует,
Осень развесила красные ткани,
Ветер – как стон запоздалых рыданий.
Листья шуршат и, взлетая, танцуют.

Светлое утро. Я в церкви. Так рано.
Зыблется золото в медленных звуках органа,
Сердце вздыхает покорней, размерной,
Изъязвленное иглами терний,
Иглами терний осенних…
Терний – осенних.

Translation by Rupert Moreton

One thought on “Autumn (Осень), Vladislav Khodasevich

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s