VYACHESLAV KUPRIYANOV

Vyacheslav Glebovich Kupriyanov was born in Novosibirsk in 1939.  His first published works were translations of poetry from German (Hölderlin, Novalis, R.M.Rilke, Hoffmannstal, B.Brecht, G.Grass, Enzensberger, Hans Arp, Erich Fried) and English (Walt Whitman, Carl Sandburg).

Kupriyanov studied technical sciences in the High Navy School in Leningrad (1958 – 1960),  and graduated in 1967 from the Moscow Foreign Language Institute (now Linguistic University), section of matematical linguistics and German (1967). He is a freelance writer, a member of the Moscow Writers Union, and a member of the Serbian Writers Union.

His published works include:

Poetry:  “First person”, 1981 (Moscow), “Life goes on”, 1982 (first free-verse poetry published in Russia after the Second Wolrd War); “Homework”, 1986; “Echo”, 1988, 1989; “Poems”, 1994; “THE BEST TIME”, 2003.

Prose: “The shoe of Empedokles” (Novel), 1996, 2000 (Moscow), and short stories (including science-fiction) published in various magazines.

His translated works include:

In English:  “In Anyone’s Tongue” (London & Boston: Forest Books, 1992)(dual text, Russian and English).

In German: “Moist manuscript” (“Das feuchte Manuskript”, Roman), 1991, Alkyon Verlag, “Der Schuh des Empedokles”, 1994, 1999; Poetry: “Sober echo”, 1986, (LCB-Edition); “Challenge to flight”, 1990;  “How to become a giraffe”; 1991, 1999;  “Monument to the Unknown Coward”, (Delp Verlag, 1990); “Eisenzeitlupe”, 1996, (awarded first place prize in Südwestfunk-Bestenliste, 1997); »Short Stories of Eurasia«, Alkyon Verlag, 2001,

“Mitlesebuch 96”, Aphaia-Verlag, 2006.

 

In Bulgarian: “Unknown Wonder”, 1987; “The Oase of Time”, 2000.

In Polish: “The Circle of life”, 1986.

In Serbian: “Singing lesson”, 1987; “Report on an angel” (awarded Library of  European Literature Prize, 1988). “The Heaven of earth”, “Branko-Radicevic-Prize” – 2006.

In Dutch: “The feelers of earth”, Leiden, 1988.

In Tamil (Sri Lanka): “Modern poems”, Colombo, 1988.

In Macedonian: “Singing and thinking lessons”, Struga, 1999.

 

Address: 121552 Moscow, Akad. Pavlova-Str. 40, app. 111

Telephone: 007499-141 83 61, mob. 7 926 615 0555

Email address:  Kuprianov@web.de     viacheslakupriyanov@yandex.ru

http://www.stihi.ru/author.html?kupr

www.erata.de/autoren/kuprijanow

www.lyrikline.org

 

Critic and poet Valery Lipnevich wrote that „Kupriyanov’s verses are fairy tales for adults – tiny myths that represent a starting amalgamation of knowledge and fancy, irony and melancholy, as well as elegance and simlicity of spirit“

 

Poet Boris Slutsky assered that Kupriyanov combines „the Russian tradition with the manner of Bertolt Brecht and his school“.

 

In critic G.Filippov’s opinion, Kupriyanov „revives daily existens  in contemporary philosophic poetry“ and demonstrates „a stand of paradoxical intellectuality“.

 

Poet Grigory Pozhenyan regards Kupriyanov’s poetry as „a fascinating syntesys of lyricism and philosophy. He suggested not only free verse but, in actuality, a new way of thinking”.

 

Viacheslav Kupriyanov (b. 1939)

Вячеслав КУПРИЯНОВ

 

ЧУДО МИРОЗДАНИЯ

Некто по имени Го никогда не ложился днем, а ночью его невозможно было заставить встать ни по какому поводу и никакими силами. Он и от прочих требовал четкого режима, отчего с неприязнью говорил о ночных сторожах, которых, впрочем, в лицо никогда не видел.
Объяснял он свою принципиальность вселенскими принципами:
Когда на одной половине круглой Земли все стоят, а на другой лежат, то возникает соответствующий перевес, заставляющий планету вращаться.
Чтобы вращение не прекращалось, стоящие на одной из сторон должны вовремя лечь, а лежащие на другой стороне должны поспеть к этому времени встать. Таким образом, все жители планеты получают равную возможность любоваться солнцем.
Заблуждение Го сейчас для многих кажется очевидным. Но его непоколебимая вера в значительность человеческого существования и в планетарную мощь суточного распорядка вызывает восхищение и по сей день, когда его уже давно нет среди нас и он, судя по всему, не принимает деятельного участия в земном круговороте.

 

Translated from the Russian by Alex Cigale
THE FIRST MIRACLE OF CREATION

 

A certain man by the name of Go would never lay down in the daytime, and it was impossible for anyone to get him up, by any means or for any reason, at nighttime. And, he would also demand similar discipline from others and, because of this, would often speak with derision of night watchmen whom, by the way, he never had the occasion to have met personally.

He would explain his principled stance by referring to universal propositions:

When on one half of our round planet everyone is standing and, on the other half, everyone is lying down, then, a corresponding imbalance ensues which forces the Earth to rotate around its axis.

In order that this revolution not cease, those who are standing on one side of the planet must go to bed in a timely fashion, and those lying down on the other side must take care, by this time, to have risen out of bed. In this fashion, all our planet’s inhabitants obtain an equal opportunity to marvel at the sun.

By now, Go’s erroneous conception has become evident to all. But his unwavering faith in the significance of human existence and his devotion to the planetary force of daily routine evokes adminration, even to this day, when he is no longer among us and, according to all appearances, no longer plays an active role in our planet’s diurnal turning.

 

 

ВТОРОЕ ЧУДО МИРОЗДАНИЯ

Однажды император Хо Лигань решил совершить восхождение на гору Пэньлай, чтобы испытать заморское переживание – катание на горных лыжах. При восхождении он обратил внимание на поразившую его вещь: чем выше к солнцу и чем дальше от земли, тем холоднее. Тогда он пришел к выводу, что истинным светилом является Земля, ее тепло уходит в небесный купол, там и образуется яркое отражение, которое мы именуем солнцем.
Сопровождавшие императора придворные астрономы признались, что так оно и есть, но об этом не следует говорить народу, чтобы не расстроить международные отношения со Страной Восходящего Солнца.

Translated from the Russian by Alex Cigale

 

THE SECOND MIRACLE OF CREATION

 

Once upon a time, Emperor Hu Ligan resolved to undertake an ascent of Mount Pinhead, in order to experience a foreign delight – a peregrination on skis. On the occasion of his ascent, his attention was drawn to a thing he had found remarkable: the closer one got to the sun, and the farther away from the earth one climbed, the colder it got. It was then that he came to the conclusion that the true source of light was the Earth, and that its warmth rises into the heavenly dome, where that shining reflection forms that we have called the sun.

The court astronomers who had accompanied the Emperor acknowledged that this was indeed so, but that this discovery aught not be disclosed to the people, so as not to upset their cordial relations with the Land of the Rising Sun.

 

 

ЧУДО ПЛАМЕНИ

Подъезжая к незнакомому городу, некто путешественник увидел замечательное зарево на горизонте.
– Что это такое, – спросил он попутчиков, видимо, более сведущих, так как они не придавали зареву никакого значения.
– Это жгут свежие газеты, – отвечали ему, – в этом городе бытует поверье, будто правда в огне не горит, поэтому читают только то, что остается после сожжения.
– А разве что-нибудь остается? – удивился путешественник, скорее всего чужестранец.
– Практически ничего, – ответствовали ему, но горящие иероглифы дают столь причудливое пламя, что его полыхание заменяет местным жителям лицезрение истины.
После такого разъяснения путешественник не стал выходить на этой станции для покупки свежих газет, дабы оставить городу необходимые искры для насущного любования истиной.

 

 

THE MIRACLE OF THE FLAMES

Approaching a town unfamiliar to him, a certain traveler was met by a fantastic glow on the horizon.

What is this, he asked his fellow companions on the train, who, it would seem, where more enlightened than he, in that they confered on this glow no particuar attention.

They are incinerating the morning papers, they replied to him. In this town, a popular belief prevails that the truth does not perish in the flames, so that they will only read that which remains after the burning.

And is there anything left? the traveler, a foreigner it would seem, uttered in astonishment.

Practially nothing, they responded, but as they burn, the hieroglyphs produce such a wondrous flame that gazing at them while they are blazing up replaces for the local inhabitants their meditation upon the truth.

After this explanation, our traveler decided not to detrain at this station to purchase the day’s newpapers, so as to leave unperturbed, as it were, the sparks necessary for this town’s everyday deliberations upon the essential truths.

 

 

 

ЧУДО С КОЛЕСАМИ

Когда жена Уй Юя родила уже второй велосипед, он пришел в неописуемое расстройство. Он кричал:
– Жена Лу Пяня рожает только самые настоящие мотоциклы! Иногда даже с коляской, когда ждет двойню.
Уй Юй разнес бы в гневе свое убогое жилище, но, к счастью, он был посажен на велосипедную цепь. Он только со скрипом вращал свои тележные колеса, которые были у него вместо рук, а также и вместо ног, которыми угрожать он не мог, поскольку он на них опирался.

 

 

THE MIRACLE OF THE WHEELS

 

When Uii Yu*’s wife had given birth to her second bicycle, he succumbed to an unimaginable affliction of the senses. He would yell:

Te Rash’s wife bears only the most prized motorcycles! Sometimes, even ones with a side carriage, when she is expecting twins.

Uii Yu would have, in his wrath, smashed to pieces his wretched abode, but, to everyone’s great fortune, he had been sitting on a bicycle chain. All he managed to do was rotate his creaking cart wheels, which he possessed instead of arms, and for his legs also, so that he was unable to strike out even with these, inasmuch as he depended on them to bear his weight.

 

 

 

ЧУДО МОЗГА

Великий ученый Чао Чуш перевернул всю мировую науку о человеке.
Центром же нового учения являлась идея, что надо головной мозг превратить в спинной. Эволюция пошла неправильно, надо ее силами науки и при помощи культуры исправить.
Вначале все шло как надо, развивался спинной мозг и делал спинномозговое существо все длиннее и длиннее, а это уже шаг к потенциальному бессмертию.
Посмотрите на дождевого червя – его разрежешь лопатой, а он все шевелится! Некоторые умники спрашивали Чуша, а зачем же червя лопатой резать? Чуш им отвечал – вот это хороший вопрос! Не будь головного мозга, не появилось бы и лопаты.
Но вот эволюция пошла неправильным путем, спинной мозг стал запутываться, образовался узел, он-то и дал начало пресловутому головному мозгу.
Нет бы этот узел распутать, а тут еще и череп возник, не так просто стало к мозгу подобраться. Кроме того, поверх черепа образовалось лицо, на котором стало появляться необщее выражение.
А ведь если распутать головной мозг, то искомым линейным существом можно несколько раз обернуть Земной шар как по экватору, так и по меридианам.
Любопытно, что страны, расположенные по экватору, не принимают участия в разработке проекта Чао Чуша, они не хотят в недалеком будущем спотыкаться о свой экватор.
Страны, расположенные вдоль меридианов, очень заинтересованы в исполнении проекта. Это видно уже по тому, что там чудовищно возросли цены на обыкновенные лопаты.

 

MIRACLE OF THE BRAIN

 

The great scientist Rao Bish upended the entire world of science.

The central notion of his teaching was the idea that the cerebral brain must be transformed into a spinal one. Evolution had developed erroneously, and it must be corrected by the collective efforts of science and the helping hand of culture.

At first, everything proeeded according to plan, and the spinal brain developed and produced a dorsal-brained being that grew progessively more elongated, and this was already in itself a step towards immortality.

Look at the lowly earthworm – you can cut him with the blade of a spade, and he will continue to wriggle! A number of wise men would ask Rao Bish, what reason could there possibly be for splitting a worm with a spade? Rao Bish replied to them – that is an excellent question! Had there been no cerebral brain, there would never have been such a thing as a spade.

But evolution had assumed the wrong track, and the dorsal brain, growing confused, formed a knot, which is what gave rise to the notorious cerebral brain.

It would have been well to untangle this knot, but then there also formed the skull, and it became more difficult to gain access to this brain. And besides, over this skull formed a face, on which the particular individual expressions made their appearance.

For if we were able to untangle the cerebral brain, then the linear being so produced would encircle the Earth several times over, along the equator, as well as along the meridians.

It is interesting to note that the nations located along the equator are not taking part in the implementation of Rao Bish’s project, not wishing to, in the near future, stumble over their own equator.

Nations located along the meridians, however, are highly intrested in the execution of this project. This is evident in that among them, the prices for commonplace shovels have already risen sharply.

 

 

ЧУДО ЛЕСА

Когда в Срединном Царстве исчезли все деревья, поэты-даосы обвинили в этом чиновников-конфуцианцев, утверждая, что деревья пошли на бумагу для отчетов об охране леса.
Чиновники в свою очередь обвинили поэтов, утверждая, что все деревья пошли на бумагу для стихов о красоте леса.
– Иероглифы наших стихов столь совершенны, что потомки смогут представить себе по ним, как изумительно выглядел незапамятный лес!
– Иероглифы наших отчетов не менее совершенны, и они красноречиво говорят о насущной пользе незабвенного леса!
И только лесорубы не оставили после себя никаких следов, так как они были безразличны к грамоте и даже деревья воспринимали как бессмысленные иероглифы.

 

THE MIRACLE OF THE FOREST

 

When all the trees in the Middle Kingdom had vanished, the Daoist poets accused the Confucian civil servants of being responsible, asserting that the trees had been cut down for paper necessary for their reports on the preservation of the forest.

The civil servants, in their turn, accused the poets, asserting that all the trees had beed used up on their poems about the forest’s unmatched beauty.

The ideograms of our poems are so perfect, that our  descendants will be able, with their assistance, to see how magnificent the forest primeval had looked!

The ideogams of our reports are no less perfect, for they eloquently speak volumes of the impertaive utility of the unforgetable forest!

And only the lumberjacks had left no recorded traces of their prolific activity, inasmuch as they were entirely indifferent to writing, and perceived even the trees to be a specie of meaningless ideogram.

 

THE MIRACLE OF PHILOSOPHY

The philosopher who had taught that everything is an all-engulfing and eternally burning fire, by the decision of cold reason and cool heads, was condemned to be burned for his heresy.

A huge bonfire was lit, and the philosopher, prodded forward by an experienced executioner and the servile, though not particularly enlightened public, walked into the flames. When the bonfire went out, the throng, to their consternation and amazement, saw the unharmed, but smoked and covered head to foot in soot philosopher, so that on this foreground, his smile appeared particularly dazzling.

He’s a nigger! Someone exclaimed. Lynch him!

But instead, they decided to report this unseemly miracle to their ruler, who was reputed to be a wise man.

Drown him immediately! the wise man commanded.

They amicably escorted the philosopher to the river and tossed him in the water. The water started to hiss and emitted a column of steam, almost scalding the curious, who had started throwing stones into the water for good measure.

After this, the philosopher was never again seen.

Your Highness, how did you know that the heretic had to be immediately drowned? they asked the ruler somewhat later on, on the evening news.

Such is the dialectic, the wise ruler replied, gazing down at his watch — the conflict of opposites.

The news anchor, wanting to extend the conversation with the great man, asked: Perhaps we needn’t have fanned the flames in the first place?

Without it, the water may not have began to hiss, the ruler found something witty to say in reply, and everyone who saw and heard this proceeded to snicker with delight.

 

 THE MIRACLE OF THE CAVALRYMAN

A certain cavalryman arrived on foot to attend a concert and for this reason was slightly delayed and so was obliged to sit in the rear rows. It would have been better had I saddled up my horse, he thought to himself. When the music began to play, he could barely even see the musicians through the dense throng of heads of those seated in front of him. If I were sitting on my horse right now, he thought, I would be able to see everything. But then he remembered that he did have his saber with him, and in one quick movement he withdrew it and chopped a clearing through the heads that interrupted his line of vision; now, with all of these beheaded, he could see everything much better. And both the music and the musicians were to his liking, but he was even more pleased with his own clear-cut resolution of the problem, so that he even thought that perhaps, he should slice off the ears of the remaining public, so that he could enjoy the music all to himself. But by then, the music had already soothed his savage breast, and he did not act out on this thought, but proceeded instead to listen to the concert to the end, along with the other lovers of music still present.

 

Viacheslav Kupriyanov (b. 1939) is considered to be one of the founders (along with Vladimir Burich and Arvo Metz) of contemporary Russian free verse. His work has appeared in many of Russia’s “thick journals,” including in Novyi Mir, Druzhba Narodov, Znamya, NLO, etc., and he was awarded the Ivan Bunin Prize in 2010. A translator of German poetry, he has published a Selected volume of Rilke in Russian translation. Although his work has appeared in some 40 of the world’s languages, he is perhaps best known in German, and this would constitute the most substantial publication of his work to date in English.

Alex Cigale’s English language poems have appeared in Colorado Review, The Common Online, and The Literary Review, and his translations in Harvard Review Online, Kenyon Review Online, The Hopkins Review, New England Review, PEN America, TriQuarterly, World Literature Today, Words Without Borders, and elsewhere. A 2015 NEA Literary Translation Fellow for his work on the poet Mikhail Eremin, he edited the Spring 2015 Russia Issue of Atlanta Review and is Plume‘s Contributing Editor for Translation. His first full book, Russian Absurd: Daniil Kharms, Selected Writings, is just out in Northwestern University Press’s World Classics series.

Vyacheslav Kupriyanov

Translated by Dasha C. Nisula

 

 

 

CONTEMPORARY MAN – 2

 

Contemporary man

extends himself through the wire

together with the murmur of the sea

jams himself into the shell of the telephone

compresses himself

seeks immortality

on a phonograph record

becomes a sea monster

a prisoner of the television aquarium

he becomes more portable

more compact

more contemporary

already he can be switched on

switched off

made louder softer

he doesn’t see you

doesn’t hear you

he doesn’t know you

 

 

“Modern Poetry in Translation”, Series Three, Number 6, 2006

 

 

 

HISTORY OF MAIL

 

For 300 years

Russians claimed

oppression by the Mongols

who it turns out

were just delivering the mail

for 300 years

Russia received letters

it couldn’t read

that’s why Moscow

had to be burned intermittently

in order to free itself from the darkness

of unread letters

 

finally Ivan the Terrible

went East

took Kazan and began

to send letters West

to the runaway Prince Kurbskoy

these terrible letters

were answered by Peter the Great

from Holland overseas

 

then Catherine also the Great

arranged a connection with the better world

of Mr. Voltaire then Napoleon

the very Bonaparte in continuous burning

of Moscow helped introduce

the elegant French epistolary style

for nobility so as not to confuse

the common folk

too early with

freedom equality and fraternity

 

With better delivery of mail

Decembrists sent their letters

about reforming Russia

from Siberia to awaken

Herzen in London

they were answered by

Vladimir Ilych squinting his

farsighted Mongolian gaze

from Geneva from Zurich

 

then the October Revolution

came to pass

as an inevitable consequence

of Mongolian mail

as an Eastern

reply and a challenge to the West

 

in the next 300 years

something will come to us as a response

from the West

by electronic mail

 

 

“Modern Poetry in Translation”, Series Three, Number 6, 2006

 

 

 

Vyacheslav Kupriyanov

 

 

LANDSCAPE WITH POLYPHEMUS

 

All this is reflected:

 

Sisyphus is pushing his rock

Icarus is falling into the sea

Prometheus is chained to a cliff

 

while carelessly rollick

indifferent nymphs

and apolitical fawns

in ecstasy

of a fleeting life

 

all this is reflected

in the blood-shot

single eye of Polyphemus

 

that is just about to be gouged

by a wanderer

seeking his homeland

Odysseus

 

“Modern Poetry in Translation”, Series Three, Number 6, 2006

 

 

 

OPTIMISTIC GEOGRAPHY

 

North America

still hasn’t slipped

into South America

 

Asia Major

still hasn’t crushed

Central and Asia Minor

 

Europe still hasn’t fallen

through the Mediterranean

onto free Africa

 

Africa still

hasn’t been swallowed

by the Sahara

 

Icebergs of Antarctica

haven’t succeeded in

merging with the ice

of Greenland

 

Forces of gravity

still surpass

any

armed forces

 

The political map of the world

hasn’t been destroyed

by the physical map

 

 

“Modern Poetry in Translation”, Series Three, Number 6, 2006

 

 

***

 

Fairy birds

play with rain

 

they are like princesses on a pea

spinning on the flying drops

 

others as if on wire

try to sit

on the slant line of rain

 

there are some

which at breakneck speed

leap into the apertures of lightening

and appear

beyond the heaven

 

these are the most educated

the rain reminds them

of a cage

 

“International Poetry Review”, VOL .XXXIII, FALL 2007, №2  The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC 27402-6170, mismiths@uncg.edu

 

 

 

ODE TO TIME

 

Oh!

Oh, half past six!

Oh, quarter to seven! Oh, five to!

Oh, seven in the morning!

Oh, eight! Oh, nine!  Oh, ten!

Oh, eleven, twelve, one!

Oh, lunch break! Oh, after-

noon nap! Oh, after

the afternoon

of the faun! Oh, the last news hour!

Oh, horror! Oh, supper hour! Oh,

the last straw! Oh, the last cloud

of dispersing storm! Oh, the last

leaf! Oh, the last day

of Pompeii! Oh, never!

Oh, after the flood! Oh, half past

eleven! Oh, five to!

Oh, midnight!

Oh, midday!

Oh, midnight!

Oh, hit! Oh, miss!

Oh, Moscow time!

Oh, Greenwich time!

Oh, for whom the bell tolls!

Oh, the hour strikes! Oh, the happy ones!

Oh, half past six!

Oh, half day!

Oh, half night!

Oh, five to!

 

 

“International Poetry Review”, VOL .XXXIII, FALL 2007, №2  The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC 27402-6170, mismiths@uncg.edu

 

 

RUSSIA’S DREAM

 

Russia sleeps in cold dew

and dreams

that it is America:

its chatterers are congressmen

its loafers are the unemployed

its hooligans are gangsters

its drunkards are drug addicts

its profiteers are businessmen

its Russians are Blacks

and it must fly to the Moon

 

Russia awakens in cold sweat

everything appears to be in place

chatterers are chatterers

loafers are loafers

hooligans are hooligans

Russians are Russians

only it must land

in the right place

 

and Russia again falls asleep

and stirs a Russian idea –

that America sleeps and dreams

that it is Russia

 

 

 

TO THE STATISTICIANS

 

Be more interested

in the quantity

of souls

per head

of population

 

the quantity of brains

per capita

 

the quantity of ideas

per brain

 

the quantity of opinion

per idea

 

the quantity of rumors

per opinion

 

the quantity

of lies

per quantity

of truth

 

be more interested

in conversion of quantity

into quality

 

 

 

Vyacheslav Kupriyanov

 

 

SONG OF ODYSSEUS

 

When my ship moors at the shore,

a poem will come ashore with me,

To which before only the sea was listening,

as it was competing with the call of the sirens.

It will have only soft vowel sounds,

That sound like this in pale translation

From the language of roaming to the language of mooring:

 

I love you with the hoarse cry of the seagulls,

With the scream of the eagles, flying toward the scent of Prometheus’ liver,

With a thousand year silence of the sea turtle,

With a click of the cachalot that wants to be a roar,

With a pantomime, executed by the tentacles of the octopus,

Before which all seaweeds stand on end.

 

I love you with all my body coming from the sea,

With all its rivers, tributaries of the Amazon and the Mississippi,

With all the deserts, considering themselves seas,

You hear their sand sift through my desiccated throat.

 

I love you with all my heart, lungs and the medulla,

I love you with the earth’s crust and the star-studded sky,

With the fall of the waterfalls and conjugation of verbs,

I love you with the invasion of Europe by the Huns,

With the One-Hundred year war and the Mongolian Horde,

With the uprising of Sparta and the Big migration of people,

With Alexander’s column and the Tower of Pisa,

With the speed of the Gulf Stream to warm the North Pole.

 

I love you with the letter of the law of gravity

And the sentence of the death penalty,

To the death penalty through the eternal fall

Into your bottomless Bermuda triangle.

 

 

Vyacheslav Kupriyanov

 

 

POETRY

 

Poetry

is natural

like a window in a house

 

artificial

like the glass in a window

 

unexpected

like the world beyond the window

 

regular

like science

 

appearing at the juncture

of rising and

declining knowledge

 

 

 

MASS MEDIA

 

Global

guff

traverses

the great ocean

 

Intercontinental

nonsense

runs between

the east and the west

 

Super highway

misunderstandings

cross

all the borders

 

The world’s sense

of moderation

is in transatlantic

trance

 

 

 

TRANSLATION OF POETRY

 

The flash of the birds’ flight

Translates to somnolent scurrying of the fish

 

And back

 

From the ancient language of fish

To the contemporary syntax of the birds’ flight

 

And so on

 

From the dark language of the ocean

To the clear language of the sky

 

And back

 

 

Translated by Dasha C. Nisula

 

 

 

SONG OF THE WOLF

 

I am the wolf wolf

I am the winter night wolf wolf

My footsteps serve the spirit of snow

I am the master of crackling someone’s bones

It was I who blew freezing stars

Upon your window glass

While you slept in a dream

I howled the full moon into the sky

When you still couldn’t look up at the sky

It was I who taught you to fear evening trees

It was I who charmed you from dangerous games with one’s shadow

It was I who prompted you to be in a pack

 

I am the wolf wolf

I am the winter night wolf

I am going from you into your winter tale

 

Translated by Dasha C. Nisula

 

 

 

SONG OF THE TIGER

 

I am the tiger

I am the thunder of taiga and the lightening of the jungle

Once when there still was a lot of fire

And still very little water

I came out of the fire alive

And began to grow plants around me

So they would reflect in my green eyes

But you should not meet my gaze

For my gaze is set at the edge of my teeth

And do not follow my tracks

For I am always behind you

And I despise man

For he is only the master of domestic cats

 

 

 

THE DANCING BEAR

 

I put my left foot forward

I put my right foot forward

I put my left foot back

I put my right foot back

I am pretending I am going forward

I am pretending I am going back

You would say these were paws

I would say they are hands

I spread my hands

I put my hands together

I raise the wind

I lower the wind

Under my feet the damp earth rotates

But it doesn’t disappear

The sky spins above my head

But it doesn’t disappear

The trees go around me

But they cannot entwine me

The birds are silent while I dance

Afraid that I might take flight

The grass grows while I dance

Afraid that I might fall

The birds are silent but not without reason

After all I might start to sing

And the grass grows without reason

After all I won’t fall I am not a man

 

Translated by Dasha C. Nisula

 

 

 

*   *   *

 

On a gray day

I saw between the clouds

an amazingly blue

patch of  the sky –

 

o what dispersion of light!

o spectrum analysis!

o my delicate retina!

o cones, responsible for perception of color!

o still not faded

crystal of my eye!

o optic nerve!

o gray matter!

o gentle strip of cerebral cortex

blissfully placed

a patch of blue sky!

 

o amazing assurance

in the possibility of relating

all this

in discreet words

 

 

Translated by Dasha C. Nisula

 

 

 

Ecology

 

From the experience of transformation

of nature

I realize that it’s harmful

to dry up the marshes

of unpleasant thoughts

 

for nature’s balance

may be destroyed

with the extinction of wilderness

that hovers above mental

quagmire

 

what may evaporate

are the running waters of clear thinking

from where computers

derive rare and clear thoughts

 

of a generation wishing to survive

 

 

“Absinthe”, New European Writing, № 10, 2008, absinthnew@aol.com

 

 

***

 

Don’t frighten the moon

when at the end of the night

a sleepwalker appears

 

Don’t ask him

where he is from ore where he is going

what he needs

at the end of the night

what he dreams

at the end of his life

 

O how dangerous

are the moment

when in light

we are visible

by everyone

 

 

“Absinthe”, New European Writing, № 10, 2008, absinthnew@aol.com

 

 

 

 

Translated by Dasha C. Nisula

 

 

 

 

Hippo-po-poem

 

One thing that we learned in our time full of shame.

We all learned to cringe when we hear evil’s name:

And how can you blame us

It’s justly infamous–

Tsar Hippo-po-tamus!

He lived off our labor for many long years.

He lived off our hippo-po-blood, sweat and tears

While he hippo-po-wined and he hippo-po-dined

And made merry on hippo-po cushions reclined

He grew rich making hippo-po-thetical deals

Spouting hippo-po-hype in his hippo-po-spiels.

Thus he soared to the top of the hippo-po-heap.

While we, his poor subjects, did nothing but weep.

We were treated like zeros—to him our true worth

While he thought himself hippo-po-hub of the earth.

On his hippo-po-bio they wrote boring tomes

His hippo-po-portraits disfigured our homes.

And hippo-po-paeans assaulted our ears.

As his hippo-po-flunkies led hippo-po-cheers

Hip-hippo-hoorah, hip-hippo-hooray

Give thanks for our hippo-po-era today.

True hippo-po-crits were assured of success

While back-sliders were punished and made to confess

And those who resisted such hippo-po-nosis.

Were sent to locked wards to treat hippo-psychosis.

So you see we had reached hippo-bolic extremes

Which luckily, don’t last forever, it seems.

Kind fate put an end to our hip-tatorship

We heard that the hippo was dead of the grippe.

He was dead of the grippe, or the hippo-po-flu

Whatever, we’d never see his like anew.

Of the hippo-po-plague we were finally rid

And no other we’d ever let do what he did.

Yet rumors now claim he is not dead in truth

But lives under an alias — Tsar Be-he-muth.

 

 

Translated from the Russian

by Lydia Razran Stone

 

 

Tale of a Red Balloon

 

Once we possessed a red balloon

We filled it up with smoke

Forgetting, what we’d learn too soon:

A red balloon’s no joke!

 

It slipped our grasp and struggled free

Then headed for the sky

But got snagged in a maple tree

The tallest one nearby

 

We shook the tree to knock it down

And soon our hands were raw

Until some genius went to town

And brought us back a saw.

 

We sawed that tree for half the day

Expecting it to fall

But red balloons do not obey:

It shot up tree and all

 

Up through the clouds we watched it go

Defying Newton’s law

While we, abandoned, stood below

Still clutching that fool saw.

 

 

Translated from the Russian

by Lydia Razran Stone

 

 

 

 

 

The Egyptian pyramids

 

 

The Egyptian pyramids
those bunkers
f

or state mummies
raised up
against cataclysm

poor boys
they don’t realise
that their curious descendants
long ago made them exhibits

in defenceless museums

Translated from the Russian

by Steve Holland

 

Viacheslav Kupriyanov

 

***

 

During my  long life

the night’s darkness

remains unchanget

but it does seem as if

the stars have grown

more interesting

in one another

 

***

 

A man with a knife

does not care

what thoughts

are ripening

in the little head

of an onion

 

whey then tears

 

***

 

waiting

for a flaming life

heroes

sleep courageously

in a box of matches

 

***

 

By the order of a brush

I draw you

life size

standing

behind the darkness

of horizons.

The vacuum

between as

is sculpted

by the gravity of our lips:

a word is crated,

a word

uniquely necessary

which can be pronounced

only by two.

 

 

The Twilight of Vanity

 

Every night

the dead one

lifts the lid of the coffin

and checks with the touch of his fingers:

 

is his name

still on the tombstone?

 

 

Translated by Ivan Burkin

 

 

 

AN EPIDEMIC . . .

 

An epidemic

of freedom

 

the most dangerous

carriers of bacilli are

people,

who’ ve been sick

with love

 

Translated by Albert C. Todd

 

 

***

 

The ancient history sank

into oblivion

 

The Middle Ages

are a well-rounded period

 

The New

Times

are

fla-

shing

by

 

Translated by Vicky Reuter

 

 

 

 

Viacheslav Kupriyanov

 

Critic and poet Valery Lipnevich wrote that „Kupriyanov’s verses are fairy tales for adults – tiny myths that represent a starting amalgamation of knowledge and fancy, irony and melancholy, as well as elegance and simlicity of spirit“

 

Poet Boris Slutsky assered that Kupriyanov combines „the Russian tradition with the manner of Bertolt Brecht and his school“.

 

In critic G.Filippov’s opinion, Kupriyanov „revives daily existens  in contemporary philosophic poetry“ and demonstrates „a stand of paradoxical intellectuality“.

 

Poet Grigory Pozhenyan regards Kupriyanov’s poetry as „a fascinating syntesys of lyricism and philosophy.

 

He suggested not only free verse but, in actuality, a new way of thinking.

Sprache: Albanisch (Gesangsunde) (Урок пения)

 

Mësimi i këngës

 

Njeriu

E shpiku kafazin

Para se të shpikte

Flatrat

 

Në kafaze

Flatrat këndojnë

Për lirinë

E fluturimit

 

Para kafazeve

Ata që nuk kanë flatra

Këndojnë

Për lavdinë e shufrave të kafazit

 

 

Translated by Anton Papleka

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sprache: Albanisch

Оdisseus Lied

 

Kënga e Uliksit

 

Kur të kthehet anija ime

Edhe kënga ime do të zbresë në breg

Kënga ime që e dëgjuan vetëm dallgët

Që kishte si rivale vetëm këngën e sirenave

Ajo do të vijë flurore me zanore uji

Që kumbojnë kështu në përkthimin e zbehtë

Nga gjuha e shtegtimeve në gjuhën e portit

 

Unë të dua me klithmën e ngjirur të pulëbardhave

Me klithmën e zhgabave që i josh mëlçia e Prometeu

Me heshtjen mijëvjeçare të breshkave të mëdha

Me zhurmën e kashalotit që do të donte të ulërinte

Me pantomimën e krahëve të likurishtes

Që sapo e trazoi befas paqen e algave

 

Të dua me tërë trupin tim që shpëtoi nga detet

Me Amazonën dhe Misisipin dhe të gjitha degët e tyre

Me shkretëtirat të cilave u duket vetja dete

Dëgjo rërën se si i rrokullis dallgët mbi grykën time

Të dua me tërë zemrën time dhe me mushkëritë e mia

Me koren e tokës dhe me qiellin plot yje

Me ujëvarën dhe me zgjedhimin e foljeve

Të dua me vërshimin e hunëve në Europë

Me Luftën Njëqindvjeçare dhe me zgjedhën Mongole

Me revoltën e Spartakut dhe me shtegtimin e popujve

Me kolonën e Aleksandrisë dhe me kullën e pjerrët të Pizës

Me dëshirën e Gulf Straem-it që nxiton drejt Polit

 

Të dua me ligjin e tërheqjes universale

Dhe me ligjin e dënimit me vdekje

Me dënimin tim për të rënë pambarimisht

Në honin e trekëndëshit tënd të Bermudeve

 

 

Translated by Anton Papleka

 

 

 

 

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