What a sturdy square block of a thing you are!
Such a fine, white, self-satisfied creature!
Sometimes you stand dumb as a boulder
or drop off into a cold sleep, or
Sometimes your metal belly rumbles, but there's
no point in working out your meaning.
Of all machines the fridge must be the
most good-natured; hog-fat and
roomy as a snow-drift, it
must be said to hold the purest heart.
Firmly under human domination
even the cold that creeps out from it
is only a small cold blast, too small
to threaten any freeze-up of our future.
If ever robots rise in revolution,
if ever they attack the human race,
at least you refrigerators won't be
amongst the ones to break the peace.
For you are the house-dog of machinery
a faithful and contented animal;
so give your door a docile wag for Man,
your living friend, and show him how you smile.
by Борис Абрамович Слуцкий
(Boris Abramovich Slutsky)
translated by Elaine Feinstein
Forgotten, cold, my dust will fall asleep while you are entering your life's sweet May. One moment then, with magnanimity, read through these versesthat once came to me.
And with a maiden's keen and thoughtful heart you'll understand my words' wild ecstasy, and why it was I often left the world for trembling song, and you will follow me.
Through salutations springing from the grave the heart's eternal truth will be revealed. We two shall breathe a life outside of time; and we shall meet – here – as you read.
by Афанасий Афанасьевич Фет (Afanasy Afanasyevich Fet) a.k.a. Шеншин (Shenshin) (1883) translated by Robert Chandler
Beneath is the original Russian Cyrillic version:
Мой прах уснет забытый и холодный, А для тебя настанет жизни май; О, хоть на миг душою благородной Тогда стихам, звучавшим мне, внимай!
И вдумчивым и чутким сердцем девы Безумных снов волненья ты поймёшь И от чего в дрожащие напевы Я уходил - и ты за мной уйдёшь.
Приветами, встающими из гроба, Сердечных тайн бессмертье ты проверь. Вневременной повеем жизнью оба, И ты и я - мы встретимся - теперь!
Beneath is a recital of the Russian version of the poem set to music:
Additional information: [Теперь : verb: Now, Nowadays, Today]. I don’t know why Chandler chose to translate the title as ‘Here‘ save as a possible cultural equivilant for English speakers to understand a Russian nuance of the word Теперь implying ‘here, right now, in the present’. It’s also possible he wanted to ensure his translation would be distinctly titled, for ease of reference, from the work of others translating the same source material.
Interesting info: Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch, sometimes referred to as S. W. Rhydderch, has published two collections, Rockclimbing in Silk (Seren, 2001), and Not in These Shoes (Picador, 2008), which was shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year 2009.