My Translation of Marina Tsvetaeva’s Cycle “Girlfriend” – Part 6

Two women embracing in a snowstorm, a painting by Édouard Bisson called "Winter."
Illustration: ‘Winter’ by Édouard Bisson (French, 1856-1939)
My Translation: 
***
How merrily the snowflakes brightened
 Your—grey, my—sable fur,
 How at the Christmas fair excited
 We looked for ribbons—best of all.

 How rosy-pink and very savoury
 I ate too many waffles—six!
 How every ginger horse delighted me—
 In honour of Your noble deeds.

 How vendors traded garments—full like sails—
 They sold the cheapest shreds and swore,
 How at the Moscow ladies, young and strange,
 The country women gaped in awe.

 How in the evening, when the crowds had left,
 We entered the cathedral, bored,
 How on the Virgin Mary's face bereft
 Your gaze fell like a solemn sword.

 How gloomy was her countenance and gentle
 The love in her exhausted eyes,
 Locked in the icon case with chubby angels
 From the Elizabethan times.

 How You let go of my hand tenderly
 And whispered: "Oh, I want her so!" 
 How you have placed a candle carefully 
 In candelabrum - yellow, tall…

 —O, with an opal ring mysterious
 Your Hand! —O, all my wretched plight—
 How I have promised You, my dearest,
 To steal this masterpiece tonight!

 How to the inn of this grand monastery
 —The rumbling bells and setting sun—
 Blessed like two baptized girls with honesty
 Like a battalion, we have come.

 How I have told You—to remain as beauteous—
 With age—and always spilled the salt,
 How for three times—You were so furious— 
 In cards, my King of Hearts had won.

 How You have squeezed my hair in sweet reproach,
 Caressing every single curl— 
 How cold was Your enamel flower brooch
 Which made my lips tremble and burn.

 How I, against Your slender fingers.
 Have brushed my tired, sleepy head,
 How You have teased me like an infant,
 How You have loved me just like that…

(December 1914)
Continue reading “My Translation of Marina Tsvetaeva’s Cycle “Girlfriend” – Part 6”

Ode to Saint Petersburg

Snowy landscape with a statue of Peter the Great, the first Russian Emperor, covered by snow.
My photo of St. Isaac Cathedral and The Bronze Horseman (Peter the Great’s Statue), 2017.
The Spire of the Admiralty Building with an angel on top is visible, while the building itself is blocked by the snow-coated trees.
My photo of The Admiralty, 2017
The facade of the Winter Palace, framed by icy branches of trees.
My photo of the Winter Palace, 2017
Roses blooming in the Peterhof Gardens, surrounded by greenery.
My photo of The Peterhof Palace Gardens, 2020
Saint Petersburg - the city of the Dead,
Where dreaming spirits haunt the mist-cloaked streets.
A diadem of rubies crowns your head,
And silver armour lines your mighty fleet.

Let myriads of angels guard your spires
Against the pain and suffering of war:
Rejoice, the bygone northernmost empire,
Built on deception, cruelty, and gore!

The Winter Palace flaunts its azure gown -
A ballerina on the frozen lake,
Whose beauty flares, as if about to drown
Beneath the burden of her last mistake.

May a luxuriant, wild garden grow
Where once was land of misery and snow.

Song of the Raven

The artwork portrays a young woman sitting on the grass with a crow perched on her hand. Both of them look at the crescent shining brightly in the night sky.
Illustration: The Moon Asked The Crow by Christian Schloe
We are spending more time apart than together
Playing silent games…

Are we lovers or ghosts, lighter than feathers,
Leaving nebulous stains?

Let my longing be nectar to your amorous venom,
Which leads me astray -

Our memories echo a murderous raven
Looking for prey.

Tenderness has become a torturous weapon
In your loving hands,

And I swallow my words like the earth swallows Heaven
Each time it rains…