“It sings, it sings” (“Душа поет”), Vladislav Khodasevich


This was written in 1919, before Khodasevich’s exile in Berlin. It’s anyone’s guess why he was so happy in the midst of Russia’s suffering. Khodasevich continues to be little known – but he has his supporters.

It sings, it sings, it sings, my soul,
My soul is blooming so,
In truth this year beyond control –
Its cause I do not know.

The country’s shrines are coffin-lined,
There’s hunger, plague and sword,
But it’s as if in me sun’s shined:
It’s struck a joyful chord.

This ought to be a cause of shame,
But how to handle things
When soul defiant bursts aflame,
And sings, and sings, and sings?


Душа поет, поет, поет,
В душе такой расцвет,
Какому, верно, в этот год
И оправданья нет.

В церквах – гроба, по всей стране
И мор, и меч, и глад,-
Но словно солнце есть во мне:
Так я чему-то рад.

Должно быть, это мой позор,
Но что же, если вот –
Душа, всему наперекор,
Поет, поет, поет?

Translation by Rupert Moreton

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