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.
'Rest a while,' says the muse, but I press on losing myself between the dictionary and the blank page. Wisdom advises, 'Call ber bluff and she'll come cringing.' But I am all nerves, running vocabulary through my fingers, faster and faster. And somewhere before me is the great poem, wrapped in its stillness, that I fool myself into thinking I will overtake soon by putting on speed.
One man fell asleep a believer but woke up an atheist. Luckily, this man kept medical scales in his room, because he was in the habit of weighing himself every morning and every evening. And so, going to sleep the night before, he had weighed himself and had found out he weighed four poods and 21 pounds. But the following morning, waking up an atheist, he weighed himself again and found out that now he weighed only four poods thirteen pounds. “Therefore,” he concluded, “my faith weighed approximately eight pounds.”
by Даниил Иванович Хармс (Daniil Ivanovich Kharms) a.k.a. Даниил ИвановичЮвачёв (Daniil Ivanovich Yuvachov) (1936-37) translated by Eugene Ostashevsky
This is pain's landscape. A savage agriculture is practised Here; every farm has its Grandfather or grandmother, gnarled hands On the cheque-book, a long, slow Pull on the placenta about the neck. Old lips monopolise the talk When a friend calls. The children listen From the kitchen; the children march With angry patience against the dawn. They are waiting for someone to die Whose name is as bitter as the soil They handle. In clear pools In the furrows they watch themselves grow old To the terrible accompaniment of the song Of the blackbird, that promises them love.
By R.S. Thomas from Not That He Brought Flowers (1968)