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KHLEBNIKOV, V.V.


On this day of blue bears


On this day of sky-blue bears

Running across quiet eyelashes,

I divine beyond the blue waters

In the cup of my eyes an order to wake.


The silver spoon of my extended eyes

Offers me a sea buoying a storm petrel;

And I see how the Russian bird flies

Through unknown lashes to the roaring sea.


A sea of heavenlove has capsized

Someone's sail in the round-blue water,

But the first storm is hopeless and gone

And from now on the journey is spring.


People in love


People in love, casting
long looks, long sighs.
Beasts in love, raising
dregs in their eyes,
choked on their bits of foam.
Suns in love, covering
night with a weft of earth,
dancing to meet, to mate.
Gods in love, forming
the trembling universe
into verse,
like Pushkin his passion
for Volkonskaia’s maid.

Translated by Paul Schmidt


Moscow, who are you?

Are you charming or charmed?
Are you forging freedom
Or chained?
What thought knits your brow?
With the world of conspire.
Perhaps you’re a window, giving light
Into another time,
Or an expert cat you’re:
Do sciences order to crucify,
Under sharp razors, the clever scholars
Who’re congealed amid their pupils
Near an old book
On the writing table?
Oh, daughter of the ages,
Oh, powder barrel – The break of your ties.

The night is full of constellations

The night is full of constellations.
What advent, what intelligence
of freedom or restraint
shines in your wide pages, book
above me, what fate must I make out
in the wide midnight sky?

Translated by Paul Schmidt