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Velimir KHLEBNIKOV
THREE poems—
THE WAY
          AHEAD IS
                    SPRING


Translated by

Natasha RANDALL








    ON THIS,
    THE DAY
    OF BLUE BEARS



Running along placid lashes,
I can see, through dark-blue waters,
in the cups of my eyes, a call to wake.

To the silver teaspoon of my reaching eyes
I am proffered the sea, a Storm Petrel above;
I see a feathered Russia, flying into noisy waves,
Between unfamiliar eyelashes.

But the love-sky sea has flipped
Someone’s sail in the round-blue water,  
And then, the first storm vanishes

Into hopelessness, and the way ahead is spring.




В этот день голубых медведей,
Пробежавших по тихим ресницам,
Я провижу за синей водой
В чаше глаз приказанье проснуться.               

На серебряной ложке протянутых глаз
Мне протянуто море и на нем буревестник;
И к шумящему морю, вижу, птичая Русь
Меж ресниц пролетит неизвестных.               

Но моряной любес опрокинут
Чей-то парус в воде кругло-синей,
Но зато в безнадежное канут
Первый гром и путь дальше весенний. 



1919







 

    FLY!
A GENTLE WORD
...



Fly! A gentle word, so pretty
You wash your snout with your paws
And sometimes on a whim
Eat a letter.




Муха! нежное слово, красивое,
Ты мордочку лапками моешь,
А иногда за ивою
Письмо ешь.




1913






     

      A fragment from a poem-play called

   ZANGEZI 

      A SUPERSAGA in twenty planes



As a butterfly who has flown
Into the room of human life,
I leave the script of my dust
At harsh windows, a prisoner’s scrawl
On a strict glass of rock.
The wallpaper of human life
So boring and grey!
No transparent windows!
I have erased my blue glow, polka dots,
A blue wing-storm, fresh at first,
Disperses pollen, wilts my wings,
Now transparent and rigid,
I beat, tired, at man's window.
Eternal numbers sound there,
A call from the motherland,
This number is being called:
Return to the other numbers.




Мне, бабочке, залетевшей
В комнату человеческой жизни,
Оставить почерк моей пыли
По суровым окнам, подписью узника
На строгих стеклах рока.
Так скучны и серы
Обои из человеческой жизни!
Окон прозрачное нет!
Я уж стер свое синее зарево, точек узорь
Мою голубую бурю крыла — первую свежесть
Пыльца снята, крылья увяли и стали прозрачны и жестки,
Бьюсь я устало в окно человека
Вечные числа стучатся оттуда
Призывом на родину, число зовут к числам вернуться.




1922










Natasha RANDALL has translated the works of Dragomoshchenko, Olga Zondberg, Zamyatin, Osip Mandelstam, Dostoyevsky, Gogol and others. Her words have appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, The New Statesman, The Yale Review, Granta, Jubilat, Aufgabe, Texte Zur Kunst. She is a contributing editor to the New York-based literary magazine A Public Space. Her first novel Love Orange (riverrun) was published in 2020.  

Velimir (Viktor) Vladimirovich KHLEBNIKOV (1885-1992), poet and poetic theorist, studied mathematics and the natural sciences at Kazan and St. Petersburg Universities but never graduated. He began to publish his poetry in 1908 and, as of 1910, the FUTURISM school of poetry centered around his works. KHLEBNIKOV invented the word zaum (zaBEYOND; umTHE MIND) to name a trans-sense or transrational language that was developed by him along with his fellow Russian poet Aleksei KRUCHENYKH. Khlebnikov coined the terms “Futurian” and “Presidents of Planet Earth” for himself and his friends—created a new alphabet based on universal meanings of sounds—and constructed a language appropriate to his vision. In the mid-1910s, he became fascinated with radio technology and its potential to connect the world, to his opinion, much like zaum was connecting human souls in extra-linguistic comprehension.

                (MARKOV)





IMAGE—

Anselm KEIFER
, ‘Für Velimir Chlebnikov: die Lehre vom Krieg’ (2004)
Oil, emulsion and acrylic on canvas with lead boat
74 13/16 × 110 1/4 in. (190 × 280 cm)



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Hotel is a magazine for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry & features work from established & emerging talent. Hotel provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator. The magazine is bi-annual, the online archive is updated periodically.



     

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