Sooner tears than sleep this midnight Come into my eyes. On my window the complaining Tempest groans and sighs.
Grows the noise now of its weeping, Sobbing to and fro – On the glass the tears come hurtling Of some wildest woe.
Why, O wind against my window, Come you grief to prove? Can it be your heart’s gone grieving For its own lost love?
By John Morris-Jones (1864 – 1929) translated by Tony Conran
Additional information: Sir John Morris-Jones (17 October 1864 – 16 April 1929) was a Welsh grammarian, academic and Welsh-language poet. In 1889 Morris-Jones was appointed as a lecturer in Welsh at the University College of North Wales, Bangor (now Bangor University) where he was promoted to professor in 1895, a post he held until his death. Morris-Jones worked to standardise Welsh orthography.
Beneath is the original Welsh language version of the poem.
Cwyn y Gwynt
Cwsg ni ddaw i’m hamrant heno, Dagrau ddaw ynghynt. Wrth fy ffenestr yn gwynfannus Yr ochneidia’r gwynt.
Codi’i lais yn awr, ac wylo, Beichio wylo mae; Ar y grwydr yr hyrddia’i ddagrau Yn ei wylltaf wae.
Pam y deui, wynt, i wylo At fy ffenestr i? Dywed im, a gollaist tithau Un a’th garai di?
Again the soldiers fill the valley. Driven by necessity The men forge cannon And the women spin cloth for uniforms in their parlours Soon, the snowdrops. Young wives weave boots from palmetto fronds And aunts save their piss For the nitre that makes All the sloshing about in tears And furnishes the men in war.
Soon, the primrose. The children in the little games Have nothing to say of war But die. The older girls knit socks for the dying. The young men cut up the bodies playfully Notwithstanding history’s immanence And not yet fearful of the waking From their drunk and bloody spell.
Soon, the cuckoo And the cuckoo-flower; Cuckoo-pint: Arum and wake-robin And navelwort and pennywort And all the crazy flowering Of even the monocotyledonous plants. And in the lacunae between horrors Much is fulfilled as the comedian entertains And flaps the colours of war hanging From rope made of Spanish moss.
By Dic Edwards
Information: Dic Edwards (born 1948) is a British playwright, poet and teacher of creative writing. His writing often touches upon political and social issues, nationalism and democracy.
by Осип Эмильевич Мандельштам (Osip Emilyevich Mandelshtam.)
His surname is commonly latinised as Mandelstam)
translated by Anatoly Liberman
from the poetry collection камен (Stone)
‘This is a hauntingly beautiful lyric, though all the references are wrong; Oliver Twist does not spend a minute in the office, Paul Dombey never deals with his father’s clerks, no one cracks jokes in his presence, no debtor hangs himself in that novel, and the Thames is not Yellow.’
– Anatoly Liberman
Beneath is the original, Russian Cyrillic, version of the poem.
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.
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