My Translation of Marina Tsvetaeva’s Cycle “Girlfriend” – Part 7

Two aristocratic women in silk white dresses are holding hands in the garden. They are smiling tenderly.
Illustration: The elegant Reventlow sisters by Heinrich August Georg Schiøtt (1840s)
My Translation: 
***
Her neck is lifted—young and free,
Like spring in reverie.
Who knows her name—who knows her age,
Who—home, who—century?

There is no light on these curved lips— 
Capricious and gentle—  
Yet I am blinded and eclipsed
By her Beethoven's temple.

It makes me tender—clear and lit,
Her face, a melted oval,
Her hand, in which a whip would fit,
And—in the silver—opal.

A violin bow could serve her hand,
But into silks it went,
How unrepeatable—this hand,
Unique, beloved hand.

(January 10, 1915)
Continue reading “My Translation of Marina Tsvetaeva’s Cycle “Girlfriend” – Part 7”

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”

My Translation of Marina Tsvetaeva’s Cycle “Girlfriend” – Part 5

Illustration: Lady Before the Mirror by John White Alexander
***
I want to ask the looking glass 
With dusty, mistful dreams, 
Which road - which country shall You pass, 
And where Your shelter gleams.

Here, I behold: the ship's tall mast,
And You - on deck alone...
You - in the train's steam... Fields at dusk
Are gloomy and forlorn...

The dusky meadows bathe in dew,
Above - the ravens soar...
To the four winds I scatter You
And bless Your soul!

May 3, 1915

Click to see the original poem

A Fiery Sonnet

This digital painting depicts a woman-artist, holding a round mirror in one hand and a palette with two brushes in the other. The young lady reflecting in the mirror, her model, is smiling at the painter lovingly.
“Portrait de la jeune fille en feu” by Vasilisa Semiletova

This poem is dedicated to the film “Portrait of a Lady on Fire.” The exquisite digital painting for the sonnet was created by my dearest friend, a talented young artist Vasilisa Semiletova. You can behold her masterpieces here: https://vk.com/elopeople, and don’t hesitate to follow her Instagram!

I paint my dear love in subtle tones
Upon the canvas, luminous and warm.
Before my eyes - stripped to the bare bones -
Her soul ignites, as though about to burn…

"If you observe me, who do I look at?" -
Her question sets my quietude aflame.
"Remember us, beloved, don't regret:
Your portrait glows within a golden frame!"

The years pass: my heart still skips a beat
Whenever it recalls the day she smiled;
I turned around, confessing my defeat,
Forever from the lover's arms exiled.

Alas, her longing gaze did not meet mine,
Enraptured, when I saw her one last time.

Огненный Сонет

This digital painting depicts a woman-artist, holding a round mirror in one hand and a palette with two brushes in the other. The young lady reflecting in the mirror, her model, is smiling at the painter lovingly.
“Portrait de la jeune fille en feu” ~ Василиса Семилетова

Это стихотворение посвящено фильму “Портрет Девушки в Огне”. Изысканную цифровую иллюстрацию для сонета создала моя дорогая подруга, талантливая юная художница Василиса Семилетова. Вы можете увидеть её шедевры здесь:  https://vk.com/elopeople, и не стесняйтесь следить за её  Instagram!

Любимую пишу я краской нежной
На тёплом и сияющем холсте.
Передо мной - до кости белоснежной
Обнажена душа в живом огне…

"Вы видите меня - кого я вижу?" -
Воспламеняет тишину вопрос.
"Воспоминанья сожалений выше:
Портрет в уборе золотом готов!"

Проходят годы - сердце замирает,
Её улыбку вспомнив невзначай;
Я обернулась, словно признавая,
Что навсегда мы говорим "Прощай!"

Увы, не встретив взгляд желанных глаз,
Я видела её в последний раз.