To Klyuev (Клюеву), Sergei Yesenin

nik_klyuyev Esen25.

Although in his short and tragic life Yesenin was married five times – and most famously to Isadora Duncan – this poem suggests that he may have had an affair with the poet Nikolai Klyuev, who was homosexual – or that at least he was the object of the latter’s affections. Klyuev was Yesenin’s mentor, and they lived together for two years. This poem was written in 1918, by which time, whatever its nature, the relationship was clearly over.

As once I loved I really don’t.
Oh, yes, I know you’ll sorrow, sorrow
Because the sweeping moon now won’t
With verses overflow tomorrow.

You’ll grieve, you’ll revel, star-wards roar –
It falls upon your brow so furrowed –
In hut your heart it did outpour,
But heart a home it hasn’t burrowed.

And he you waited for at night
Your roof as he’s before avoided.
O friend, for whom it glitters bright
The key that with your song you gilded?

You’ll never capture sun in song,
See heaven’s vault the window framing.
Though windmill’s wings at sky are aiming,
They rooted in the ground belong.


Теперь любовь моя не та.
Ах, знаю я, ты тужишь, тужишь
О том, что лунная метла
Стихов не расплескала лужи.

Грустя и радуясь звезде,
Спадающей тебе на брови,
Ты сердце выпеснил избе,
Но в сердце дома не построил.

И тот, кого ты ждал в ночи,
Прошел, как прежде, мимо крова.
О друг, кому ж твои ключи
Ты золотил поющим словом?

Тебе о солнце не пропеть,
В окошко не увидеть рая.
Так мельница, крылом махая,
С земли не может улететь.

Translation by Rupert Moreton

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