Don’t leave the room, don’t blunder, do not go on. If you’re smoking Shipka, what good is the Sun? Outside, all is meaningless, especially – the cry of joy. To the lavatory and back straightaway, old boy.
O, don’t leave the room, don’t call for a cab, my friend. Because Space is a corridor that will end with a meter. And, if your dear, delight expressing, walks inside, kick her out without undressing.
Don’t leave the room; pretend that you have a cold. Four walls and a chair entice like nothing else in the world. Why leave the place that you’ll surely return to late in the night, as you were, only more – mutilated?
O, don’t leave the room. Enchanted, dance bossa nova in shoes worn on bare feet, in a coat draped over your naked body. The hall reeks of ski wax and cabbage. You’ve written a lot; more would be extra baggage.
Don’t leave the room. Let only the room imagine a little what you might look like. And besides, incognito ergo sum, as form itself learned from substance once. Don’t leave the room! Outside, you will not find France.
Don’t be a fool! Be what others weren’t. Remain. Don’t leave the room! Let the furniture have free reign, blend in with wallpaper. Bolt the door, barricade in place with a dresser from chronos, cosmos, eros, virus, race.
In particular this translation note, from the article, where she discusses the choices faced in expressing wordplay successfully to an audience unlikely to be familiar with the original cultural context:
…the original second line says ‘Why should you need the sun (solntse) if you smoke Shipka?’ Both Solntse and Shipka were brands of Bulgarian cigarettes. I decided against attempts along the lines of ‘You read The Guardian, why should you need the sun?’, Brodsky being a Russian chain smoker rather than a British liberal.
Beneath is the original version of the poem in Russian Cyrillic.
Ужасный! — Капнет и вслушается,
Все он ли один на свете
Мнет ветку в окне, как кружевце,
Или есть свидетель.
Но давится внятно от тягости
Отеков — земля ноздревая,
И слышно: далеко, как в августе,
Полуночь в полях назревает.
Ни звука. И нет соглядатаев.
В пустынности удостоверясь,
Берется за старое — скатывается
По кровле, за желоб и через.
К губам поднесу и прислушаюсь,
Все я ли один на свете, —
Готовый навзрыд при случае, —
Или есть свидетель.
Но тишь. И листок не шелохнется.
Ни признака зги, кроме жутких
Глотков и плескания в шлепанцах
И вздохов и слез в промежутке.
Additional information: As a teenager, Boris Pasternak fell in love with Ida Vysotskaya, the daughter of a wealthy Moscow tea merchant. Almost 5 years have passed since they met, before the aspiring poet ventured to propose to her and was refused. Memories of unsuccessful matchmaking long tormented Pasternak, who continued to have very tender feelings for Ide Vysotskaya. He tried not to mention this in his poems, but from time to time works appeared in which the pain, longing and disappointment of the poet were easily interpreted.
In 1917, resting in the country, Pasternak wrote an initial rough draft of the poem “The Weeping Garden”. The author himself, after many years, admitted that this work was written in one breath under the influence of a momentary impulse. Moreover, the poet at first did not think to draw a parallel between the usual summer rain and his own state of mind. This happened somewhat spontaneously, even unexpectedly, for the author himself. He felt anguish when looking out upon the night garden from his window. He felt that nature experiences exactly the same feeling of loneliness and longing as he did at times.
In his special manner, Pasternak conveys the sounds, rustles and even smells of a night garden, humanizing it and endowing it with the features of a lonely man. The hero of his work is constantly listening, “If it’s as much alone as ever“, and at the same time secretly dreams of attracting attention to himself. The garden weeps with warm summer rain, and the drops of moisture either freeze or slide “sliding / From gable to gutter and down“.
The poet himself is also “Ready to sob if I have to”, but looks around, looking for involuntary witnesses of his grief. Subconsciously, he wants to tell at least someone about what has become painful, to share his thoughts with feelings and feelings. However, the author is just as lonely as the night summer garden, and he has nowhere to wait for words of sympathy or comfort . “Nothing anywhere to be seen, / Except the gulps and splashing galoshes / And sighs and tears in between” the author notes, secretly regretting that at this moment there is no truly close person next to him. Pasternak still does not realize that life itself is preparing a cure for unrequited love for him, and very soon he will be able to find, albeit short-lived, but still happiness, next to another woman – artist Eugenia Vladimirovna Lurie.
February. Get ink and weep! Burst into sobs – to write and write of February, while thundering slush burns like black spring.
For half a rouble hire a cab, ride through chimes and the wheel's cry to where the drenching rain is black, louder than tears or ink -
where like thousands of charred pears rooks will come tearing out of trees straight into puddles, an avalanche, dry grief to the ground of eyes.
Beneath it – blackening spots of thaw, and all the wind is holed by shouts, and poems – the randomer the truer - take form, as sobs burst out.
By Бори́с Леони́дович Пастерна́к (Boris Leonidovich Pasternak) (1913) translated by Angela Livingstone
An alternate to Jon Stallworthy and Peter France’s translation of the poem ‘It’s February. Weeping take ink!‘ provided elsewhere on this site. The Original doesn’t have a specific title and is usually referred to by it’s first line, as is the case with many untitled poems, but my source for this translation titled it as ‘February’. Also of note this translation gives the date as 1913 but my research of Russian sources all agree to it being published, or at least written, in 1912. The discrepancy may be due to the date it was initially published in a collection of poetry or journal possibly.
A recital of the Russian version read by Sergei Yursky (a Russian actor who died on 8th February this year sadly) set to music by Chopin:
The original Russian Cyrillic version of the poem:
Февраль. Достать чернил и плакать! Писать о феврале навзрыд, Пока грохочущая слякоть Весною черною горит.
Достать пролетку. За шесть гривен, Чрез благовест, чрез клик колес, Перенестись туда, где ливень Еще шумней чернил и слез.
Где, как обугленные груши, С деревьев тысячи грачей Сорвутся в лужи и обрушат Сухую грусть на дно очей.
Под ней проталины чернеют, И ветер криками изрыт, И чем случайней, тем вернее Слагаются стихи навзрыд.
At twilight the swifts have no way Of stemming the cool blue cascade. It bursts from clamouring throats, A torrent that cannot be stayed.
At twilight the swifts have no way Of holding back, high overhead, Their clarion shouting: Oh, triumph, Look, look, how the earth has fled!
As steam billows up from a kettle, The furious stream hisses by - Look, look – there's no room for the earth Between the ravine and the sky.
By Бори́с Леони́дович Пастерна́к (Boris Leonidovich Pasternak) from Поверх барьеров (Over the Barriers) (1916) translated by Jon Stallworthy and Peter France
The poem, in Russian, set to music by La Luna with some elements of repition from the album ‘Серебряный Сад’ (Silver Garden).
The original Russian Cyrillic version of the poem.
Нет сил никаких у вечерних стрижей Сдержать голубую прохладу. Она прорвалась из горластых грудей И льется, и нет с нею сладу. И нет у вечерних стрижей ничего, Что б там, наверху, задержало Витийственный возглас их: о, торжество, Смотрите, земля убежала! Как белым ключом закипая в котле, Уходит бранчливая влага, - Смотрите, смотрите — нет места земле От края небес до оврага.