Friday, May 02, 2014

Look for Me: A Poem by Vladislav Khodasevitch

A poem for the day. "Look at Me," from the new bilingual collection: Vladislav Khodasevitch: Selected Poems, just published by Overlook, translated from the Russian by Peter Daniels, with an introduction by Michael Wachtel.

Born in 1886, Khodasevitch came of age among the famed avant-gardists of Russian poetry. An innovative classicist in an era dominated by relentless experimentation, Khodasevitch was hailed by many of his peers in the Soviet Union and Berlin in the early post-revolutionary years, including Vladmir Nabokov, who wrote that Khodasevitch would "remain the pride of Russian poetry as long as its last memory lives."

Look for Me
Look for me in spring's transparent air.
I flit like vanishing wings, no heavier than
a sound, a breath, a sunray on the floor;
I'm lighter than that ray – it's there: I'm gone.
But we are friends for ever, undivided!
Listen: I'm here. Your hands can feel the way
to reach me with their living touch, extended
trembling into the restless flame of day.
Happen to close your eyelids, while you linger…
Make me one final effort, and you might
find at the nerve-ends of each quivering finger
brushes of secret fire as I ignite.
20 December 1917 – 3 January 1918

Ищи меня в сквозном весеннем свете.
Я весь — как взмах неощутимых крыл,
Я звук, я вздох, я зайчик на паркете,
Я легче зайчика: он — вот, он есть, я был.
Но, вечный друг, меж нами нет разлуки!
Услышь, я здесь. Касаются меня
Твои живые, трепетные руки,
Простертые в текучий пламень дня.
Помедли так. Закрой, как бы случайно,
Глаза. Еще одно усилье для меня —
И на концах дрожащих пальцев, тайно,
Быть может, вспыхну кисточкой огня.
20 декабря 1917 — 3 января 1918

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