Farewell! (Прощай!), Maksim Gorky

By Unknown - [1] [2], Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42530697
Stalin with Gorky
I find it difficult to warm to Gorky – as anyone I know who’s struggled through Mother does. This poem about one of his two periods of exile is more appealing, but it’s worth remembering that his return from the latter was at the direct invitation of Stalin, and that the father of socialist realism ended his days in this house (though the circumstances of his death in 1936 are unsurprisingly disputed)…

Farewell! My soul with yearning’s full.
Alone I am as was before,
Again I’m prey to shadow’s pull,
Farewell, my spark, how bright you are!
Farewell!

Farewell! I’ve now unfurled my sail,
And sadly at the helm I stand
And darting seagulls’ voices’ wail
And streaks of foaming sea’s white spray
Are things by which says motherland
To me farewell!

The sea’s expanses threaten harm,
The worm of anguish gnaws my soul,
The grey wave’s angry howls alarm…
And yet with all its floods the sea
Cannot expunge you with its roll!
Farewell!

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Прощай! Душа – тоской полна.
Я вновь, как прежде, одинок,
И снова жизнь моя темна,
Прощай, мой ясный огонек!..
Прощай!

Прощай! Я поднял паруса,
Стою печально у руля,
И резвых чаек голоса
Да белой пены полосы –
Все, чем прощается земля
Со мной… Прощай!

Даль моря мне грозит бедой,
И червь тоски мне душу гложет,
И грозно воет вал седой…
Но – море всей своей водой
Тебя из сердца смыть не может!..
Прощай!

Translation by Rupert Moreton

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