I clenched my hands fm 'Evening'- Akhmatova

Translated any poems lately? If so, then why not post them here?

I clenched my hands fm 'Evening'- Akhmatova

Postby cynwulf » Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:43 am

Сжала руки под тёмной вуалью...
"Отчего ты сегодня бледна?"
--Оттого, что я терпкой печалью
Напоила его допьяна.

Как забуду? Он вышел, шатаясь,
Искривился мучительно рот...
Я сбежала, перил не касаясь,
Я бежала за ним до ворот.

Задыхаясь, я крикнула "Шутка
Все, что было. Уйдешь, я умру".
Улыбнулся спокойно и жутко
И сказал мне: "Не стой на ветру".



Literal translation

I clenched my hands under the dark veil.
"Why are you pale today?"
--Because I with astringent sadness
Made him drunk.

How shall I forget? He went out, staggering.
Was twisted poignantly mouth...
I ran down, handrail not touching,
I ran after him to gate.

Choking, I cried "Joke
All, that was.You leave, I shall die".
He smiled quietly and terribly/ominously
He said to me: "Don't stand in wind".

Interpretation

I clenched my hands under the dark veil.
" Why are you so pale today?"
-- Because I made him drunk, full
Of biting sorrow.

How can I forget? He left, reeling.
His mouth was twisted with heartbreak...
I ran down, not touching the railing,
I chased after him to the gate.

Choking, I yelled " It was all a joke,
Leave me and I shall die".
He smiled, a quiet and ominous look,
"Don't stand in the wind" he replied.

Last edited by cynwulf on Thu Oct 23, 2014 9:47 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: I clenched my hands fm 'Evening'- Akhmatova

Postby David » Thu Oct 23, 2014 6:28 pm

Really enjoying these insights into Russian poetry, c. This is another one where I think you should try to retain more of the straightforward translation in your interpretation. e.g. (if I am simply comparing the symbols correctly) A uses "ran" twice in the original? So should you. A pox on poetic variation.

And how can this:

"Choking, I yelled " It was all a joke,
Leave me and I shall die"


compare with the raw immediacy of this:

Choking, I cried "Joke
All, that was.You leave, I shall die"


Clearly the interpretation is better, more proper English. But it doesn't touch the soul. (As these are Russian poems, I dare say I can use the word "soul". What is that in Russian anyway?)

You don't have a video of this one to share, do you?

Cheers

David
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Re: I clenched my hands fm 'Evening'- Akhmatova

Postby cynwulf » Thu Oct 23, 2014 10:51 pm

Thanks for your comments, David. These are 2 different verbs in the Russian- in l3 v2 transliterated: 'sbyezhala' means descended running, 'byezhala' means ran and is followed by a preposition to indicate direction. Kunitz translates these 2 lines as
" I ran downstairs not touching the banisters,
and followed him as far as the gate."
He takes even greater freedom, trying to keep the rhyme scheme, in the final verse:
"And shouted,choking:'I meant it all
in fun. Don't leave me, or I'll die of pain'.
He smiled at me-oh so calmly, terribly-
and said:'Why don't you get out of the rain?' "

He goes so far as to translate 'vyetru' meaning 'wind' as 'rain' to make a rhyme with pain ( which word isn't in the Russian at all). Since Russian verse at the time Akhmatova wrote this was very formal, I feel some attempt shd be made to keep the original form, though I wd never go as far as Kunitz does, so some of the terseness is lost.

I've made several unsuccessful attempts at putting a video in, and have now managed to embed this one. There is another more histrionic reading as well with which I still can't get to load. Its identification on the youtube clip is Hjxht02yHJU.

Soul:
Several words dependg on what 'soul' signifies using Roman script: doosha means soul, spirit; dookh spirit, courage; syerdtsye means heart basically but is applied to soul in that sense etc,etc.
Regards, C.
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Re: I clenched my hands fm 'Evening'- Akhmatova

Postby Macavity » Fri Oct 24, 2014 6:51 pm

He smiled, a quiet and ominous look,
"Don't stand in the wind" he replied.


Really like that ending C.
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Re: I clenched my hands fm 'Evening'- Akhmatova

Postby cynwulf » Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:27 am

Thanks mac, Akhmatova's original almost, transfer of languages fairly straightforward there-able to retain some 'doosha'.
Regards, C.
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