Сороковые (The Forties) by David Samoylov

The forties, fateful,

warring, frontline,

with funeral notices,

clattering trains.

The hum of the rails.

All is cold, high and barren.

Their houses have burned –

they’re heading east.

That’s me at the station

in my scruffy wool cap.

The star’s not standard issue –

it’s cut from a can.

Yes, here I am in the world,

skinny, happy, carefree.

I’ve got tobacco in my pouch –

I have a stash of rolling papers.

I joke with the girls,

and limp a little overmuch.

I break my rationed bread in half,

and I know everything on earth.

Imagine! What coincidence –

war, horror, dreams and youth!

And all of it sank deep inside me…

and only later did it wake.

The forties, fateful,

lead and gun smoke…

War wanders through the land.

And we are all so young!

 

by Давид Самойлов (David Samoylov)

pseudonym of Давид Самуилович Кауфман (David Samuilovich Kaufman)

(1961)

translated by Boris Dralyuk


Additional information: David Samoylov (Давид Самойлов), pseudonym of David Samuilovich Kaufman ( Давид Самуилович Кауфман; 1 June 1920 in Moscow — 23 February 1990 in Tallinn) was a notable poet of the War generation of Russian poets, considered one of the most important Russian poets of the post-World War II era as well.

A recital of the poem in its original Russian:

The original Cyrillic Russian version of the poem:

Сороковые

Сороковые, роковые,
Военные и фронтовые,
Где извещенья похоронные
И перестуки эшелонные.

Гудят накатанные рельсы.
Просторно. Холодно. Высоко.
И погорельцы, погорельцы
Кочуют с запада к востоку…

А это я на полустанке
В своей замурзанной ушанке,
Где звездочка не уставная,
А вырезанная из банки.

Да, это я на белом свете,
Худой, веселый и задорный.
И у меня табак в кисете,
И у меня мундштук наборный.

И я с девчонкой балагурю,
И больше нужного хромаю,
И пайку надвое ломаю,
И все на свете понимаю.

Как это было! Как совпало –
Война, беда, мечта и юность!
И это все в меня запало
И лишь потом во мне очнулось!..

Сороковые, роковые,
Свинцовые, пороховые…
Война гуляет по России,
А мы такие молодые!

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‘Thought, yet more thought! Poor artist of the world’ by Yevgeny Baratynsky

Thought, yet more thought! Poor artist of the word,

thought’s priest! For you there can be no forgetting;

it’s all here, here are people and the world

and death and life and truth without a veil.

Ah! Chisel, cello, brush, happy the man

drawn to you by his senses, going no further.

He can drink freely at the world’s great feast!

But in your presence, thought, in your sharp rays,

before your unsheathed sword, our life grows pale.

 

by Евгений Абрамович Баратынский (Yevgeny Abramovich Baratynsky)

(1840)

translated by Peter France

‘Gotta keep living, though I’ve died twice’ Osip Mandelstam

Gotta keep living, though I’ve died twice,

and water’s driving the city crazy:

how beautiful, what high cheekbones, how happy,

how sweet the fat earth to the plough,

how the steppe extends in an April upheaval,

and the sky, the sky – pure Michelangelo…

 

by Осип Эмильевич Мандельштам (Osip Emilyevich Mandelshtam. His surname is commonly latinised as Mandelstam)

(1935)

translated by Andrew Davis

‘Twilight was turning to darkness outside…’ by Vladislav Khodasevich

Twilight was turning to darkness outside.

Under the eaves a window banged wide.

 

A curtain was lifted, a light briefly shone,

a swift shadow fell down the wall and was gone.

 

Happy the man who falls head first to death:

at least for a moment his viewpoint is fresh.

 

by Владислав Фелицианович Ходасевич (Vladislav Felitsianovich Khodasevich)

(1922)

translated by Michael Frayn

Happiness Week: Saturday

My cat was very playful. He still has no name. He now has a bald spot on his neck.

My skin is healing.

Watched a ‘let’s play’ through of ‘Life Is Strange’ published by Square Enix (with a very sad reference to their film ‘The Spirits Within’ not being a bad film but a cult classic as if they still cannot let go of how much of a major let down it was both financially and critically for them even all these years later…). It is a game in a similar adventure vein to those of TellTale Games escept you are able to see both outcomes of a decision by rewinding time immediately to see how the other outcome will come across. This actually limits its replay value ultimately as you will just choose ‘the best outcome’ in your first playthrough and not replay the rest of the game to reach these points again. You play as a college girl who has returned to her home town aftera number of years away who discovers she has the ability to rewind time with which she must solve, with the aid of her rebellious childhood friend, a missing person’s case and protect the town from a severe storm arriving in 4 days. It is episodic and only the first episode, ‘Chrysalis’, has been released so far. It has some real promise although the first episode has a number of generic elements (hopefully to be subverted in later episodes) but despite all the side activities you can do it doesn’t have the polish of TellTale Games’ recent releases so far.

I watched ‘The Wind Rises’ / 風立ちぬ / Kaze Tachinu on FilmFour. It is a Studio Ghibli film so it goes without saying it is fantastically high quality. However I understand why, on principle, many political groups took umbrage with a romanticised depiction of the life of the engineer who designed the Mitsubshi A6M Zero plane the Japanese used in World War II. However it is actually more correct to say the film is based on a short story by Tatsuo Hori, with parts of the story Hori based on Jiro Horikoshi with aspects of his own personality (for example the fictional account of Horikoshi’s wife suffering tuberculosis which Hori’s wife actually did suffer from and his chain smoking when Horikoshi was a lifelong non-smoker) amalgamated into a single character as the fictional Horikoshi’s of the film. An excellent film tinged with an awkwardness as you can’t escape that in realising his dream the character ultimately saw his realised dream used for war. The film tries to address this with his dreams where Giovanni Battista Caproni addresses him as a spirit guide but it falls flat due to the real world implications and for once sadly cannot be chalked up as simply ‘cultural differences’ as is the excuse often used when certain aspects of films are viewed unfavourably in different markets worldwide.

‘Forest of Drizzling Rain’ – Another ‘let’s play’ through but of an RPGmaker horror game. It was okay and had an interesting concept but ultimately the story was not well implemented and so failed on it’s potential with some very weak endings and not enough character development.

‘Prinny, Can I Be The Hero?’ – Yet another Let’s Play I watched. An action platforming PS Vita game spin of the Disgaea strategy RPG series. I still have very fond memories of playing the Playstation 2 games in the series but as I never got a PS3 or PS Vita I never kept up with the later entries. The humour is still there but this spin off seems far lighter fare gameplay wise compared to the main series. It looks fun but also quite short if you are not into purchasing download extras.

The Voice – A 16 year old mother from Bridgend. Her mother is in a Wheelchair ticking the sad background that these sort of talent shoes feel the need to shoehorn into their constructed narratives as part of an ‘overcoming adversity’ storyline. It demeans the individuals concerned and makes them figures to be pitied instead of respected in publicising their circumstances and makes it harder for an audience member to be unbiased in their assessment of the performer’s talent. Unfortunately their accents made them sound far duller than… it made them sound dull. And so Bridgend is not only the ‘suicide ring’ town of South Wales but also of tattooed underage mothers. Tidy…

National Lottery game show – I forgot what the name of it was but there was a Welsh couple on it. The guy reminded me of someone I know. They seemed really affectionate and to get on well unlike some of the more nervous couples in previous weeks. It was nice to see though it was clear the wife was the one who wore the trousers in the relationship as she was quite ‘don’t be so self-deprecating’. Also one of the things they were trying to win were proper wedding rings as theirs were from Swansea market. There’s nothing wrong with that just… you just know someone is judging them for it somewhere and thinking the Welsh, as a nation, are poor… which is sadly true as we are paid less for the equivalent work when it is done in England.

Nice relaxing day.


HAPPINESS WEEK IS OVER!

Normal services will resume in due course… or maybe I will do a ‘Misery Week’ which would be cathartic. Or ‘Absurdism Week’ which would be fun. Or maybe I will just leave it a few days and resume the usual update every few days. Maybe even lower it to once a week. Let us see…

Did people enjoy reading this? It seemed to be just the same few points being reiterated time and time again each day over the week.

I uploaded this with mere seconds left before Sunday began. I almost forgot to post it at all. An achievement in time management which I was quite happy with.

Happiness Week: Friday

I’ve got that Friday feeling! Other people didn’t feel that way so I tried to lead the way. Did I succeed or did I fail? It doesn’t matter because its positivity week!

WITH THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP MY WOOBAT EVOLVED INTO A SWOOBAT! 🙂

A very quiet day. Good for focusing on the task at hand. At least I spent it with nice people.

Rugby is on the television tonight. The Wales vs England game. The old enemy. Took our land. Supressed our language. Mined the minerals from beneath our homes for ‘their’ empire for a pittance in payment. No one cared for anything other than this today.  You are not a Welshman if you don’t drop everything and are obsessed with the game shouting a tthe television screen decrying the events and telling ‘your’ team what ‘we’ have to do to win. I don’t watch rugby or care about it but it is on the television and is deemed a national event. I am going to go read some short stories instead… Robert W Chambers’ The King In Yellow is this weekends choice then… Ladies love watching those muscular men in short shorts running up and down a field clutching an egg shaped ball. It is all very symbolic of what fuels their libido… The way they handle those balls you can tell they would make worthy breeding stock and care giving fathers. Shame their egos are bigger than their…

Caryl Parry Jones sums up what rugby is to the Welsh national identity with this Welsh language charity single performed by her character Cameron Jenkins (the ever injured rugby player): Ultimately Rugby is an emotional roller-coaster.

Cameron Jenkins’ charity single as part of his ‘Hwpo Fe Mewn’ appeal for the BGDB charity (Living With Dislocated Fingers).
Don’t forget about our Welsh and International rugby heroes who are suffering with dislocated fingers, because it’s an emooootional rollercoaster.

The general gist of the chorus lyrics are:

‘obviously, (you know)! / Its an emotional roller-coaster /  pop it out and then pop it back in / its an emotional roller-coaster!’

Small cuts have opened on my hands during the day but they will heal now I have time to attend to skincare. Don’t mock this concern as unmanly. Cuts can get infected and become dangerous if not attended to especially with broken skin which is no longer an effective barrier to bacteria, and viruses entering the blood stream. I assure you those rugby players spend far more time on their appearance than the average person on the street e.g. designer haircuts, spray tans, etc. And for their work having massages for physio, access and the time to use the best sports equipment for exercise and support from the top professionals in the healthcare industry. And once past their physical prime they are treated like demi-Gods walking into any pub and finding a beer, free of charge, being offered to them by the lesser orders. ‘Good bloke’ is their title no matter how much of a sociopath they are in person. ‘done great things’ – like carry a ball from one end of the field to the other. These are the modern day warriors on whom society pins its reputation. Prancing primadonnas of great height and strength who drop to the floor and spend months off ‘work’ hainv top of the line privately funded healthcare if they break a toe or finger.

Hot cross buns and tea for supper.

My cat likes to go towards the door as if to escape the house but he stops short. As much as others think he will run away I think he just wants some fresh air. I think you don’t realise how revitalising fresh air is until you don’t have access to it.


One more day of the Happiness Week… burnout. So much to do and so little time.

The week seems to have gone well. Still feel something went wrong at some point though.. No, maybe not… Just have to accept things are not a constant… Not a flat circle… Time is not a flat circle… I want to rewatch True Detective again. If I do then it proves truly that time is a flat circle:

Everything we’ve ever done or will do, we’re gonna do over and over and over again.

Happiness Week: Thursday

I kept my hands moisturised and they were not as bad today. In fact they seemed to have begun healing. REGENERATION OF THE EPIDERMIS!

I ACQUIRED A WOOBAT! 🙂 SOON I WILL BE A BAT TYPE POKEMON MASTER!

I purchased ‘The Rough Guide to Britain’ (7th edition) for £5 from WH Smiths. It originally cost £16.99! BARGAIN HUNTING AND MAKING PEOPLE JEALOUS!

My cat is booked to go to the vet under the name of Totoro, which the cat home gave him, as we haven’t given him a name yet. In my absence a list was made of names for him. They were not what I would have chosen. They want: Alex (of Aleksandr / Alexander), Max (of Maximus or Maximillian), Donovan, Morgan, Maddox, Rhys, Rhett (After Rhett Butler from ‘Gone With The Wind), Matthias (after the character from S4C’s Y Gwyll / Hinterland), Hugo, Benedict (after Cumberbatch), Henry, Oscar, Sky, Radley, Archer, Chance, Darcy, Aramis or Milo. NAMES TO LIVE BY IN ORDER TO PROJECT MISPLACED AFFECTION TOWARDS FICTIONAL FIGURES!

They decided the short list is: Claudius, Augustus or Benedictus. GETTING ANCIENT ROME ON YOUR ASS!

All the Russian names they considered initially are ignored. So no Ivan, Dovlatov, etc, naming. PRAVDA BRAT!

The cat was a stray so Melmoth, after the titular character of Charles Robert Maturin’s novel Melmoth the Wanderer, seems a fitting name. GETTING LOST IN HIS EYES FOR A HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS!

Also a co-worker suggested Spock as she has a thing for the actor Zachary Quinto. She should get her own cat… or a pet rock. SPOCK AND SYLAR SLASH FICTION!

Also someone keeps saying, in an overly dramatic way, ‘Heeeeeelllll – oooooooohhhhh’ when entering a room. I dont know if it is intentionally done to patronise others or is really how this person actually speaks… UNIQUE SPEECH PATTERN FOR THE WIN!

Someone shared a clip of a film I shared with them. Suprised and joyful! SPREAD THE PIRACY OF HUMOUR! YO HO ITS A PIRATES LIFE FOR ME ON THE GOOD SHIP YOUTUBE!

I was very helpful today. Part of a team! Part of a team! Asked if I could to take a moment out of my busy working schedule (sarcastically) to help. Part of a team! Part of a team! TEAMWORK GO! FORM OF ‘SLIGHTLY PERPLEXED FUNKY GIBBON’!

People speak at shouting level stood next to me when its not necessary. GOT TO MAKE SURE YOU HEARD WHAT I SAID BECAUSE IT WAS GOOD!

It’s Happiness Week so everything has to be stated in a positive manner! HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY! JOY JOY JOY!

I had carrot and coriander soup with wholemeal bread! It was filling! I have had it before! NOM NOM NOM!

I was given a waving golden lucky cat! LUCKY!

I acquired 3 tubes of vanilla, sandalwood and lotus scented incense sticks with a burner stand. He tubes were originally £5 each but I got them for £1 each. FREE MARKET CAPITALISM IN PERSUIT OF INNER PEACE! CONFORM! CONSUME! OBEY!


So much positivity… it is a tiring experience. Two more days… What can I say? I will find something…

Emilie Simon – Flowers: A French singer performing in English.