“Shout for joy! There is no Tsar” (“Хорошо, что нет Царя”), Georgy Ivanov


A poem from 1930. Ivanov was an exile in Paris, at once celebrated in the émigré community as one of the last poets of the Silver Age, and yet slowly succumbing to depression and alcoholism. He promised “to return to Russia as poems” – and his growing popularity suggests that he has been true to that promise.

Shout for joy! There is no Tsar.
Shout for joy! There is no Russia.
Shout for joy! For God is dead.

All there is, is icy star,
All there is, is dawning’s yellow,
As the years in millions thread.

Shout for joy! There is no one,
Shout for joy! There’s nothing spun,
It’s so black and dark, there’s none

That could turn out deader ever
And could ever be more black,
Help for others will come never –
Never will you get it back.


Хорошо, что нет Царя.
Хорошо, что нет России.
Хорошо, что Бога нет.

Только желтая заря,
Только звезды ледяные,
Только миллионы лет.

Хорошо – что никого,
Хорошо – что ничего,
Так черно и так мертво,

Что мертвее быть не может
И чернее не бывать,
Что никто нам не поможет
И не надо помогать.

Translation by Rupert Moreton

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