No Comment, Quotation — October 26, 2008, 12:21 am

Pushkin’s Autumn

birch_forest_by_klimt

VIII
? ? ?????? ?????? ? ????????? ?????;
???????? ????? ??????? ??????? ?????;
? ????????? ????? ????? ???????? ??????:
?????? ??????? ???, ?????? ??????? ?????;
????? ? ???????? ?????? ? ?????? ?????,
??????? ????? — ? ????? ????????, ?????,
? ????? ????? ???? — ????? ??? ????????
(???????? ??? ???????? ???????? ????????).

IX
????? ?? ??? ????; ? ???????? ????????,
????? ??????, ?? ???????? ?????,
? ?????? ??? ??? ?????????? ???????
?????? ?????????? ??? ? ?????????? ???.
?? ?????? ??????? ????, ? ? ???????? ???????
????? ????? ????? — ?? ????? ???? ????,
?? ????? ???????? — ? ? ???? ??? ?????
??? ???? ?????? ? ???? ???? ?????.

X
? ??????? ??? — ? ? ??????? ??????
? ?????? ??????? ???? ????????????,
? ???????????? ?????? ?? ???:
???? ?????????? ?????????? ?????????,
???????? ? ??????, ? ????, ??? ?? ???,
???????? ??????? ????????? ??????????? —
? ??? ?? ??? ???? ???????? ??? ??????,
???????? ??????, ????? ????? ????.

XI
? ????? ? ?????? ????????? ? ??????,
? ????? ?????? ????????? ?? ?????,
? ?????? ???????? ? ????, ???? ? ??????,
?????? — ? ????? ???????? ???????.
??? ??????? ???????? ??????? ? ????????? ?????,
?? ??! — ??????? ????? ????????, ??????
?????, ???? — ? ?????? ????????, ????? ?????;
??????? ????????? ? ????????? ?????.

XII
??????. ???? ? ??? ??????…

VIII
When autumn comes, I bloom anew;
The Russian frost does wonders for my health;
Anew I fall in love with life’s routine:
Betimes I’m soothed by dreams, betimes by hunger caught;
The blood flows free and easy in my heart,
Abrim with passion; once again, I’m happy, young,
I’m full of life – such is my organism
(Excuse me for this awful prosaism)

IX
My horse is brought to me; in open field,
With flying mane, he carries fast his rider,
And with his shining hooves he hammers out a song
Upon the frozen, ringing vale, and crackling ice.
But fleeting day dies out, new fire comes alive
Inside the long-forgotten stove– it blazes bright,
Then slowly smoulders – as I read before it,
Or nourish long and heartfelt thoughts.

X
And I forget the world – in silence sweet,
I’m sweetly lulled by my imagination,
And poetry awakens deep inside:
My heart is churned with lyric agitation,
It trembles, moans, and strives, as if in sleep,
To pour out in the end a free statement–
And here they come – a ghostly swarm of guests,
My long-lost friends, the fruits of all my dream.

XI
My mind is overcome by dashing thoughts,
And rhymes come running eagerly to meet them,
My hand demands a pen; the pen – a sheet of paper.
Another minute – and my verse will freely flow.
Thus slumbers an immobile ship caught in immobile waters,
But lo! – the sailors rush all of a sudden, crawl
Up top, then down – sails billow, filled with wind;
The massive structure moves, and cuts the waves.

XII
It sails. But whither do we sail?…

Aleksandr Segeyevich Pushkin, “Autumn” (“?????“)(excerpt)(1833) from ???????? ????????? ? 10 ????? (M. Eastman transl. 1924)

Listen to a Romanze acapella performance of Pushkin’s Autumn.


I have spent this week near the mountains of Central Asia. The golden leaves still cling to the white trunks of trees in the birch forests. The skies are clear and the heat of the sun is still enough to bring a recollection of summer’s lassitude in the early afternoon hours, but in the evening the cold justifies the lighting of fires, and their smoke thickens the early morning hours. Autumn is a curious time, marked by decay, but filled nevertheless by strange vigor. It is a season in which we prepare for the darkness and cold of winter, the world around us seems filled with reminders of mortality and the steady cycle of life. Pushkin’s poem is one of the more remarkable expressions of these contradictory forces. It is a distinctly artistic vision. The cycle of worldly change is tied to the artist’s urge to create and express.

Listen to Pyotr Il’ich Tchaikovsky’s Song of Autumn, no. 10 in the cycle The Seasons, op. 37 (1876) here in a wonderful performance by a young Korean pianist, Dong-Hyek Lim.

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(1) To need his glasses and be struck by an awareness that they are not at hand, an ordinary enough circumstance for Frederick Douglass, except sometimes it’s accompanied by a flash of extraordinary dread. If not quite panic, certainly an unease disproportionate to a simple recurring situation. Dread that may be immediately extinguished if he locates his horn-rimmed, owlish-eyed spectacles exactly where he anticipated they should be. He sees them and almost sighs. Nearly feels their slightly uncomfortable weight palpable on his nose. Finding the glasses enough to reassure him that he remains here among the living in this material …
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(1) To need his glasses and be struck by an awareness that they are not at hand, an ordinary enough circumstance for Frederick Douglass, except sometimes it’s accompanied by a flash of extraordinary dread. If not quite panic, certainly an unease disproportionate to a simple recurring situation. Dread that may be immediately extinguished if he locates his horn-rimmed, owlish-eyed spectacles exactly where he anticipated they should be. He sees them and almost sighs. Nearly feels their slightly uncomfortable weight palpable on his nose. Finding the glasses enough to reassure him that he remains here among the living in this material …
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