Sunday, April 26, 2015

Irina Bragina sings Marina Tsvetaeva

Recently, I made the glad discovery of Irina Bragina's delicate interpretations of several pieces of Marina Tsvetaeva's poetry, set to music composed by Bragina herself. In honor of the occasion, I have decided to prove to myself, once again, that Tsvetaeva's poetry is nearly untranslatable.

Indulge me; listen to the song, read my attempt at a translation; and then judge for yourself. 

Thank goodness for music, which is able to convey what would otherwise be impossible. Brava, Bragina.

(As a post script, I would add that learning the background behind this poem adds a depth to it that I can hardly bear. The eyes of a woman dreaming of trees, the eyes of a small child -- )


Of both quarreling and singing will tire--
even this mouth!
And then even time will deceive me
and sleep--will come.

And I will lie quietly, will close my eyes,        (literally, will place my eyelashes close together)
will close my eyes.
And I will lie quietly, and I will dream
of trees and of birds.

--Marina Ivanovna Tsvetaeva (1892-1941)

April 12, 1917
*Under this poem is a later note: "Written on the eve of the birth of my second daughter, Irina, born on April 13, 1917, died February 2, 1920, in Sretenie, from hunger, in the Kuntsevo orphanage. Snow; pine trees."

А всё же спорить и петь устанет —

И этот рот!
А всё же время меня обманет
И сон — придёт.

И лягу тихо, смежу ресницы,
Смежу ресницы.
И лягу тихо, и будут сниться
Деревья и птицы.

--Марина Ивановна Цветаева (1892 — 1941)

12 апреля 1917
* Под стихотворением поздняя приписка: «(Написано накануне рождения моей второй дочери — Ирины — род 13-го апреля 1917 года — умершей 2-го февраля 1920 года, в Сретение, от голода, в Кунцевском приюте. Снега, сосны)

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