Autumn Twilight (Осение Сумерки), Vladislav Khodasevich


Khodasevich was eighteen when he wrote this. It was published with two other poems in 1904 by the poet Sergei Krechetov-Sokolov in the Symbolist almanac “Grif”. Khodasevich was later to write: “To my surprise (and of course to my great pride) … [Krechetov-Sokolov] offered to publish them. They appeared in the next number of the yearbook. I have always remained grateful … but I think that at that moment he was too indulgent: the poems were so bad that to this day it is unpleasant for me to recall them…” (quoted by David M. Bethea in Khodasevich: His Life and Art)

Upon the city mists were draping
Their frigid pearl-white wedding veil…
And deaf deceits were there escaping
With drifting, distant alien trail.

How deep those alleys’ cuts were graded!
And more constricted were their ways!
And in the mist their lines now faded
As flaming jets shot after haze.

And blood it seems those flames are shedding,
They flash as if they’re someone’s eyes!
With love and anger round me spreading,
The time has come when heaven dies.


На город упали туманы
Холодною белой фатой…
Возникли немые обманы
Далекой, чужой чередой…

Как улиц ущелья глубоки!
Как сдвинулись стены тесней!
Во мгле – потускневшие строки
Бегущих за дымкой огней.

Огни наливаются кровью,
Мигают, как чьи-то глаза!..
…Я замкнут здесь… С злобой, с любовью.
Ушли навсегда небеса.

Translation by Rupert Moreton

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