“I know the truth!” (“Я знаю правду!”), Marina Tsvetaeva

Tsvetaeva wrote this in 1915, as the First World War was raging. I decided to adopt the regular meter suggested by the first two lines – Tsvetaeva herself departs from it.

I know the truth! All former truths are swept away!
No longer now do people need to fight each other.
And see: the evening’s here; and see, night ends the day.
So what have you to say, O poet, general, lover?

And now a wind blows up; the dew begins to seep,
And in the sky a starry blizzard soon will harden,
And we on earth who never let each other sleep,
Will soon be sleeping underneath an earthy burden.


Я знаю правду! Все прежние правды — прочь!
Не надо людям с людьми на земле бороться.
Смотрите: вечер, смотрите: уж скоро ночь.
О чем — поэты, любовники, полководцы?

Уж ветер стелется, уже земля в росе,
Уж скоро звездная в небе застынет вьюга,
И под землею скоро уснем мы все,
Кто на земле не давали уснуть друг другу.

Translation by Rupert Moreton

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