And again they’ll order a translation,
and a foreign poet, like an alien spaceman,
space-suit on fire, will enter the atmosphere
and land, as literals, on your writing table.
Get to work then, palms pumping chest,
trying to find life in this strange being,
to start the heart’s rhythm, the lung’s action,
so he can breathe the harsh local air.
This one will probably live, but some die,
and who can you tell later or explain
how the sacred honey congeals in your breast,
refusing to be poured into strange vessels.
by Мари́на Я́ковлевна Бороди́цкая
(Marina Yakovlevna Boroditskaya)
translated by Ruth Fainlight
Extra information: Marina Boroditskaya was born on June 28, 1954 in Moscow. In 1976 she graduated from the Moscow Institute of Foreign Languages named after Maurice Torez. She worked as a guide-translator and taught in a school. In 1978 she made her debut as a translator in Russia’s Иностранная литература (Foreign Literature) magazine.
Since 1990 she has been a member of the Writers’ Union, and since 2005 she has become a member of the Мастера литературного перевода (Masters of Literary Translation) guild.
Marina Boroditskaya works as a presenter on the radio show Литературная аптека (translated as Literary Pharmacy’, ‘Literary First Aid Box’or ‘Literary Drugstore’ depending on your source) on Радио России (Radio Russia). She is convinced that the book is the best medicine.