Thursday, April 10, 2014

My first encounter with the writing of Vladislav Khodasevich...


...was through this poem, thanks to a friend. Such a sensitive soul must have been associated with Khodasevich's frail body. Seemingly simple themes such as bread were important to Khodasevich. Forgive any insensitivity in my attempt at translation.

...the word is flesh and simple bread is merriment and mystery.

--Osip Mandelstam, "Word and Culture"



I found the above quote while musing on Khodasevich, the Symbolists and Acmeists, and then felt a bit sad, considering the later fate of both poets.



Bread

Vladislav Khodasevich, 1918

In our kitchen, a blinding light appeared today.
You, in an apron, sprinkled with flour,
fairer than any Cendrillon* or Mignon,**       
        an artless beauty.

Around you, ministering visibly,
with a bundle of firewood, and a jug of milk,
dripping feathers, cherubim are attending...
        through the clouds

Radiance breaks through, and onto copper pans
bundles of arrows are flung--yellow rays.
The fire in the stove, in the light of day,
         gleams as if pale roses.
        .
And these portions of future bread,
merging in a sonorous earthen vessel--
An angel swears--they are truths, like the sky,
       the earth, labor, and love.


* Cinderella

**a French term of endearment

(The title of the poem is actually Bread plural, but "Breads" doesn't sound quite right to me as a title.)

Хлебы
Слепящий свет сегодня в кухне нашей.
В переднике, осыпана мукой,
Всех Сандрильон и всех Миньон ты краше
        Бесхитростной красой.

Вокруг тебя, заботливы и зримы,
С вязанкой дров, с кувшином молока,
Роняя перья крыл, хлопочут херувимы...
        Сквозь облака

Прорвался свет, и по кастрюлям медным
Пучками стрел бьют желтые лучи.
При свете дня подобен розам бледным
        Огонь в печи.

И эти струи будущего хлеба
Сливая в звонкий глиняный сосуд,
Клянется ангел нам, что истинны, как небо,
        Земля, любовь и труд.




A Sulamith Wulfing painting.

If every poem is a lie,
then clothing and food are lies too,
as are the whole world and even clayey man.

--St. Columba

4 comments:

bluestorm said...

A wonderful, hearty as bread poem and a clever translation.
"The fire in the furnace, in the light of day,
gleams as if pale roses."
. . . gorgeous imagery.
I would prefer "stove" instead of "furnace," though.
Thank you for sharing Khodasevich here.

Iulia Flame said...

Ah. Perhaps I shall change it to stove. :) Yes. That would be better.

Iulia Flame said...

It's just that "furnace" held this lovely alliteration. :)

bluestorm said...

Yes, it does. I like it very much either way.

En plein air - in memoriam Andrew Bellon

A dreamless sleep falls from the shimmering leaves. --Sappho fragment, tr. Andrew Bellon I changed, thickened, ...

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