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Sunday
Jun082008

Bely, "Ночь"

A poem ("Night") from one of Russia's greatest prose writers, most famous for this unparalleled novel. You can read the original here.

As spring’s warmth passed, so too the wicked heat;
In vain I sought plain peace, elusive still.
And in a roaring wave the house went shrill
To Hayden’s heights flew forth one elite.

And arrogant he went, in hidden shame.
Contemned by fate, he blew above the dim
And wilted grass, his sighs now long and grim,
And wind beat pale the shacks through darkened panes.

What silence! What simplicity reigns whole!
What miserly and fireless sunrises bend!
So too will you pass on, o friend, poor friend,
Why then should seas of storms still flog our soul?

Pour down, o rain, in mutiny severe!
So sweet cascade the sighs of sumptuous trees.
And night’s effacing look talks in the breeze,
With suffering unheard and wind unnear.

Reader Comments (2)

Lovely translation, M. Deeb. Vivid and memorable. I've read it about eighteen times now, but I still can't figure out how the poet does it. How he creates such an affecting mood, I mean.

Can you please explain?

June 9, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMelancholy Korean

Many thanks for your comments, my dear Steven. Bely was a genius of unlimited potential who slipped and slid through a few salons and movements of thought that belied his own artistic integrity. His poetry is always vivid, but not always lucid. His masterpiece, Petersburg, has pages of prose that scan in perfect meter. One of the most underappreciated of Russian writers.

June 9, 2008 | Registered Commenterdeeblog

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