Autores rusos·Poesía

Poems by Arseny Tarkovsky

PUBLICACIONES BLOG venezolanos (3)
A small yellow tongue flickers.
The candle drips and drips.
This is how you and I live—
our souls flare, flesh disappears.


  Beautiful Day
Beneath the jasmine a stone
marks a buried treasure.
On the path, my father stands.
A beautiful, beautiful day.
The gray poplar blooms,
centifolia blooms,
and milky grass,
and behind it, roses climb.
I have never been
more happy than then.
I have never been
more happy than then.
To return is impossible
and to talk about it, forbidden—
how it was filled with bliss,
that heavenly garden.


  Butterfly in the Hospital Orchard
Flying from shadow into the light,
she is herself both shadow and light.
Where did she come from, this being
nearly naked of markings?
She looks like she’s hopping.
She must be from Asia—
there’s no one quite like her here.
She must be from forgotten years,
where a tincture of azure
is a blue sea in our eyes.
She swears it will be forever
but keeps the word never.
She can hardly count to two,
understands little,
and from the whole alphabet knows
only two vowels—
The butterfly’s name is a picture
impossible to pronounce.
And why does she have to be so quiet?
She’s too much a mirror.
Don’t fly off to the East, O,
my lady! Don’t chase the East, flying from shadows
into the light. My soul, why do you long for a far-off place?
O my colorful beloved, my
darling, don’t fly away.


  The Word
A word is only a skin, thin
film, an empty sound, but inside
a pink point is beating,
shining like a strange light.
A vein pulses, an artery swirls.
And you don’t care at all,
the lucky one you’ve found
has been born with a caul.
From the beginning, the word
was power. If you’re a poet
and have no better path
in this tangled world,
don’t describe too early
battles or the trials of love.
Refrain from prophecy,
and don’t ask for the grave.
A word is only a skin,
a thin film of human lots,
and any line in your poem
can sharpen the knife of your fate.


  I learned the grass as I began to write,
and the grass started whistling like a flute.
I gathered how color and sound could join,
and when the dragonfly whirred up his hymn—
passing through green frets like a comet—
I knew a tear in each drop of dew.
Knew that in each facet of the huge eye,
in each rainbow of brightly churring wings,
dwells the burning word of the prophet—
by some miracle I found Adam’s secret.
I loved my tormenting task, this intricate
positioning of words, fastened by their light,
riddle of vague feeling and a sudden clarity
alighting. In truth I thought truth appeared.
My tongue was true, like a spectral analysis,
and words gathered around my feet to listen.
What’s more, my friend, you’re right to say
I heard one-quarter the noise, saw half the light.
But I did not debase the grasses, or my family,
or insult the ancestral earth by being blithe,
and as long as I worked on earth, accepted
a gift of coldest spring water and fragrant bread,
above me, the abyssal sky leaned down
and stars tumbled, hurtling toward this hand.


If it had been written in the stars
that I would lie in the cradle of gods
and be raised by a heavenly wet-nurse
on the holy milk of clouds,
I’d be the god of a stream or garden,
guard some grain or grave.
But I don’t want to be immortal. I’m human,
and scared of an unearthly fate.
Thank God my lips have not been stitched
into a grin, above the earth’s salt and bile. So long, Olympian violin,
I don’t want your laughter or song.


  Life, Life
I don’t believe in omens, nor fear
foreboding signs. No poisons or lies
will strike me down. There is no death on earth;
everyone’s immortal. Nothing will die.
There’s no need to fear the end—at seventeen
or seventy. There’s only this life, this light
on earth; there’s no darkness or death.
We’re all already on the seashore,
and I’m one of those who hauls in the nets
when immortality swims past a shoal.
If you live in a house, the house will not fall.
Summon any of the centuries,
I’ll enter and build a house in it.
That is why they are with me,
our beloveds and children, around my table
large enough for ancestors and grandchildren:
 the future turns its face to us now,
and if I raise my hand a little,
all five rays will dwell among you.
Every day I used my collarbones
as if they were logs to shore up the past—
I measured time with cubits and spans
then crossed its mountain range.
I tailored the age to fit my frame,
then we headed south, made the steppe dust fly.
Tall weeds fumed. A grasshopper played;
touching its antenna to a horseshoe, it prophesied;
like a monk, it threatened me with destruction.
I strapped my fate to the saddle.
And even now, in the time to come,
I stand up in stirrups like a boy.
My immortality suits me well—
my blood flows from age to age.
I would have paid with my life, whimsically,
for a warm and sturdy corner—
if the flying needle had not tugged me
like a thread across the universe.


And now summer has left
as if it never came at all.
It’s warm still where the sun falls.
But it’s not enough.
Whatever I wanted to happen
fell right into my hands
like a five-fingered leaf.
But it’s not enough.
The just and unjust
played their necessary part
and burned into light.
But it’s not enough.
Life tucked me behind its back
and shielded me from cuffs.
I’ve had such good luck.
But it’s not enough.
My leaves have yet to blaze;
my branches have not yet broken.
The day is clear as glass—
but it’s not enough.

1967 .

Arseny Tarkovsky

Poems and biography extracted from the book ”I burned at the feast : selected poems of Arseny Tarkovsky / translated by Philip
Metres and Dimitri Psurtsev”

Arseny Alexandrovich Tarkovsky was born in the Ukrainian city of Elisavetgrad (now Kirovohrad) in 1907 and moved to Moscow in 1923, working as a newspaper journalist and publishing his first poems. By the late 1930s, he had become a noted translator of Turkmen, Georgian, Armenian, Arabic, and other Asian poets. During the Second World War, he served as a war correspondent for the Soviet Army publication Battle Alarm from 1942 to 1944, receiving the Order of the Red Star for valor. His first book of poems was suppressed by the authorities in 1946, prior to publication. Tarkovsky’s first volume of his own poems, Before the Snow, emerged in 1962, when the poet was 55, and rapidly sold out. His fame widened when his son, the internationally-acclaimed filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, included some of his father’s poems in his films. He died in 1989, just
before the Soviet Union fell.