“My eyes now wear a coat of sand” (“Глаза засыпаны песком”), Ryurik Ivnev

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Ivnev lived into old age, dying just before his ninetieth birthday. This is one of his last poems, written in 1979.

My eyes now wear a coat of sand –
But should the wind now have my condemnation?
There’s much that’s strange, that’s difficult to understand –
Do not condemn the bard with defamation.

And do not let the horse of hatred crush
My spirit’s last rejuvenation.
And from my frigid lips, I beg, don’t rush
To take away your warm hands’ consolation.

And let our land be covered now with snow,
Our rivers halted by new freezing.
And don’t allow this salty heat to flow
For ever in the blood with force displeasing.

Forgive me for the strangeness of these days –
These days of love and restless agitation –
I know it’s true, they differ much, each other’s ways,
They hang by slender threaded oscillation.


Глаза засыпаны песком —
Могу ли ветер осудить за это?
Бывают странности. Понять их нелегко —
Не осуди, не обесславь поэта.

Да не растопчет ненависти конь
Души моей помолодевшей.
Широкую горячую ладонь
Не отнимай от губ похолодевших.

Пусть снегом нашу землю занесло
И льды сковали наши реки,
Горячее соленое тепло
Проникло в кровь и будет жить вовеки.

Прости меня за странные часы —
Часы любви, волненья и тревоги,
Я знаю: брошены на строгие весы
Две наши очень разные дороги.

Translation by Rupert Moreton

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