“I do love people” (“Люблю людей”), Vladislav Khodasevich


Nina Berberova, Khodasevich’s wife, had this to say about her husband: “There are ten names without which there is no Russian poetry. Khodasevich has succeeded in becoming the eleventh.”

I am grateful to Ian Mac Eochagáin for suggesting the obvious “I do love” in the first line. I can see no other way of retaining both sense and metre.

I do love people and creation,
However, wandering leaves me cold,
I have no doubt waits no ovation
As my creations I unfold.

But glad for what I have I ponder
The things that bring all this to pass:
The leaning elm against barn yonder,
The wooded hills, the swaying grass…

Not brutish glory, nor oppression
Do I expect from any peers,
Instead round yard I make procession
Attacking lilac with my shears.


Люблю людей, люблю природу,
Но не люблю ходить гулять,
И твердо знаю, что народу
Моих творений не понять.

Довольный малым, созерцаю
То, что дает нещедрый рок:
Вяз, прислонившийся к сараю,
Покрытый лесом бугорок…

Ни грубой славы, ни гонений
От современников не жду,
Но сам стригу кусты сирени
Вокруг террасы и в саду.

Translation by Rupert Moreton

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