The Greek Coffee House (Греческая кофейня), Arseny Tarkovsky

tarkovsky-greek-coffee-house

Tarkovsky wrote this in 1958. Can he have visited Greece then? I’m mystified by “И что-то нежное и злое/Скрывали медленная речь,” – can anyone explain why the verb is plural?

Where white the rock in untamed splendour
Is swallowing the deep blue sea,
There Lambrunidi, Greek bartender
Be-fezzed, awaited guests by quay.

They hung their nets and extricated
From tangled knots the dripping floats
And, childlike, grinning, animated,
They pulled at sleeves of tattered coats.

“Come in, dear guests, your work is ended,
Today the coffee’s just like wine!”
Long silence then on bar descended
As bony plaques fell
Into line.

And Zoe brought the little beakers
And spilling words of wind-burnt speakers
Hid evil matter in soft drawl,
As if sea’s meshing, crashing breakers
From slender shoulders then did fall.

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

Где белый камень в диком блеске
Глотает синьку вод морских,
Грек Ламбринуди в красной феске
Ждал посетителей своих.

Они развешивали сети,
Распутывали поплавки
И, улыбаясь точно дети,
Натягивали пиджаки.

— Входите, дорогие гости,
Сегодня кофе, как вино!—
И долго в греческой кофейне
Гремели кости
Домино.

А чашки разносила Зоя,
И что-то нежное и злое
Скрывали медленная речь,
Как будто море кружевное
Спадало с этих узких плеч.

Translation by Rupert Moreton

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