A translation I did of the poem И это снилось мне, и это снится мнe…”  

by Arseny Tarkovsky, visionary 20th century Russian poet, 

and father of filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky

 


 

 

 

And this I dreamt, and this I dream…

 

And this I dreamt, and this I dream,

And this I’ll dream again,

And all repeats, and all re-forms,

And what I dreamt you’ll dream.

 

There, estranged from us, from the world estranged,

Wave follows wave to crash against the shore,

And on the wave a star, a person, a bird,

And life, and dreams, and death – wave follows wave.

 

I don’t need numbers: I was, I am, I’ll be,

Life – wonder of wonders, and falling to my knees,

Alone, an orphan, I abandon myself,

Alone, among mirrors – bound among reflections,

Oceans and cities, luminous, deliquescent.

A mother in tears lifts the child to her knee.

 

 

*  *  *

 

 

И это снилось мне, и это снится мне…

 

И это снилось мне, и это снится мне,

И это мне еще когда-нибудь приснится,

И повторится все, и все довоплотится,

И вам приснится все, что видел я во сне.

 

Там, в стороне от нас, от мира в стороне

Волна идет вослед волне о берег биться,

А на волне звезда, и человек, и птица,

И явь, и сны, и смерть – волна вослед волне.

 

Не надо мне числа: я был, и есмь, и буду,

Жизнь – чудо из чудес, и на колени чуду

Один, как сирота, я сам себя кладу,

Один, среди зеркал – в ограде отражений

Морей и городов, лучащихся в чаду.

И мать в слезах берет ребенка на колени.

 

1974

 

 

 


 

Arseny Tarkovsky (1907-1989), along with his older contemporaries Anna Akhmatova and Marina Tsvetaeva, is now generally considered one of the preeminent poets to come out of the Soviet era. Unable to publish his first collection until his mid-fifties due to Soviet censorship, he was known for many decades mainly as a translator of Asian poetry. His verse eventually received wider attention in part by appearing in the films of his son Andrei— arguably one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. Tarkovsky’s poetry is at once intensely personal and broadly metaphysical, often turning to the natural world and dreamlike imagery (some of which is evoked similarly in visual form by his son), drawing heavily on rhythm and allusion, and sprinkled with colloquialisms of the Elisavetgrad region (now Kirovohrad, central Ukraine) where he grew up.

 

 Appeared in Metamorphoses: Journal of Literary Translation, Spring 2012 issue (Five Colleges, Northampton, MA), and Denver Critic (now defunct and presence-less, as tends to happen to many online publications) 



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