viernes, 11 de diciembre de 2015

Wondrous Moment: Selected Poetry - Alexander Pushkin, Andrey Kneller (translator)


I can give you my loneliness, my darkness, the hunger of my heart; I am trying to bribe you with uncertainty, with danger, with defeat.
JLB, "Two English Poems"

Perhaps, one day, I'll learn to let you go.
Alexander Pushkin (1824)

I left a world of labyrinths, mirrors and spirals of time to visit the lands of the ultimate romantic poet.
Turbulent waves of indomitable emotions reach this shore and leave me immersed in deep thought. A wandering shadow that carries the weight of praise. A benevolent will-o'-the-wisp that leads the reader to the safe path towards his art. Choose any poem and you will find him. Vocalize any verse and you will become a fortunate witness of his mind. The epitome of lyricism.

The essence of Russian poetry.
My days still linger, slow and rough,
Each moment multiplies the sadness
Within the heart of hapless love
And drives my yearning into madness...
(A Wish, 1816)

Love found, love lost. Unknown. A one-sided mourning, naturally. A profound sense of melancholy even in blissful times. So much yearning. So much existence. A fervent desire of holding on to a life that still leaves him submerged in gloom.
But, o my friends, I do not want to leave!
I want to be alive, to think and grieve.
And I predict that I will find some pleasure
Amidst anxiety, amidst the stress and pressure.

Yet, the question that relentlessly lingers inside his mind when humanity becomes unbearable.
In sadness, lonesome, I await:
How far away is my demise?

A most virtuous celebration to the poet's nature. Nostalgia emerges through the mist of lost years with an enchanting, rhythmic cadence that escapes any reasoning.
Time that will never return. Time wasted with unsaid words, hidden smiles, avoided glances; pride. On the contrary, Pushkin speaks. He reveals. There is a sincerity in his writing that leaves him on the verge of vulnerability. Inevitable. Humane. Regretful.
Don't ask me why, alone in dismal thought,
In times of mirth, I'm often filled with strife,
And why my wearied gaze is so distraught,
And why I don't enjoy the dream of life...
(To ***, 1817)

But people are fallible. And there was a time when fear brought silence.
That I am plagued with love:
Without you near – I'm feeling bored;
With you – I feel estranged now;
But I can't speak a single word.

Infinite Pushkin. His poetry. His stories. The works of a gifted mind.
Nothing compares to the wondrous moment when you find yourself in someone else's words.

Like I have said before, there is also an optimistic sunbeam illuminating some of his poems. Frail but present. He embodies a distressing dichotomy inherent to human nature. Existence and weariness. A hunger of living. An impatient wait.

These are not just poems about love (which, by the way, must have a certain language for me to actually be able to enjoy them), but about everything that constitutes a life. A life made of years, epochs, moments. Moments of joy, of grief, of doubt. Moments wanting to be. Those brief moments of ours in a place a little larger than an entire universe.

Note: This book also includes Pushkin's work in his original language. I spent some quality time not just reading, but looking for meanings, translations, comparisons. With such insufficient tools I tried to observe the remaining essence that deeply wants to prevail over the limits of the translating process but usually does not succeed. In this case, the translator gave shape to Pushkin's poetry maintaining rimes and forms but without taking too many liberties that would jeopardize this author's exquisite voice. The meaning was there, the poetic forms were there. A fine translation that flows more gracefully than the previous one I've read.

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