My Translation of Marina Tsvetaeva’s Cycle “Girlfriend” – Part 3

Illustration: “The Window Seat” by Robert Burns, 1905-1906.
Picture Editing: Pascale Clerie
I’ve spent all day beside the window,
The snow was melting everywhere.
My mind was sober, bosom - tender,
Again I live without care.

I don’t know why. It must be languor,
The mere exhaustion of the soul,
I simply couldn’t bear to handle
My pencil - riotous and bold.

And so I stood - the foggy valance -
Concealed both evil and caress,
My finger gently broke the silence
By tapping on the fragile glass.

My spirit’s neither worse, nor better
Than any stranger - whom I’ve met, -
Than puddles of pearlescent glitter,
The mirrored sky above my head,

Than bird in flight, so free and dauntless,
Than racing dog with fluffy ears,
And even the impoverished songstress
No longer can bring me to tears.

The charming art of sweet oblivion
I’ve memorized from the start.
Today a feeling worth a million
Was slowly melting in my heart.

October 24, 1914

Click to see the original poem

3 thoughts on “My Translation of Marina Tsvetaeva’s Cycle “Girlfriend” – Part 3

  1. Perhaps I am reading to much into this poem, but “the fragile glass” speaks to me of the fragility of the human heart, by which I mean love. How easily it is wounded or broken. Best, Kevin

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That is precisely what I meant by “the fragile glass,” Kevin! The fragility of one’s heart, which comes with falling in love, resembles the delicacy of this material. I must admit that Tsvetaeva used another adjective, “resonant,” but I have decided that “fragile” suits the poem’s context better. Your insightful comments always please me so much!
    With gratitude, Veronica.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m pleased to learn that I interpreted the poem correctly, Veronica. You must have spent quite a lot of time translating the poem in it’s entirety and you have done an excellent job! Best wishes. Kevin

      Liked by 1 person

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