Tuesday, March 25, 2014

-- Marina Tsvetaeva (Kaminsky, Valentine)

...I seem to overhear
two friends, two voices, talking in their turn,

--O look!--that fresh dark elderberry branch
is like a letter from Marina in the mail.

--Anna Akhmatova
November 1961

(from Poems of Akhmatova, tr. Stanley Kunitz and Max Hayward)


from Poems for Akhmatova

I won't fall  behind you. I'm the guard.
You--the prisoner. Our fate is the same.
And here in the same open emptiness
they command us the same--Go away.

So--I lean against nothing.
I see it.
Let me go, my prisoner,
to walk over towards that pine tree.

June, 1916

You can't buy me. That is the whole point. To buy is to  buy oneself off. You can't buy yourself off from me. You can buy me only with  the whole sky in yourself. The whole sky in which, perhaps, there is no place for me.


--Marina Tsvetaeva

My difficulty (in writing poems--and perhaps other people's difficulty in understanding them) is in the impossibility of my goal, for example, to use  words to express a moan: nnh, nnh, nnh. To express a sound using words, using meanings. So that the only thing left in the ears woudl be nnh, nnhm, nnh.

--an excerpt from Tsvetaeva's final notebooks

(From: Dark Elderberry Branch: Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva

A Reading by Ilya Kaminsky and Jean Valentine)

Alla Pugacheva sings the lyrics of a Marina Tsvetaeva poem, in a video dedicated to her memory.

When I heard Ilya Kaminsky had been involved in a translation of some of Marina Tsvetaeva's poems, I had to glimpse this for myself....so I bought a copy.

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