Offcourse Literary Journal
ISSN 1556-4975 

Anthology of Russian Minimalist and Miniature Poems;
Part I, The Silver Age
Translated by Alex Cigale.

Page 3

Fyodor Tyutchev Ivan Turgenev Afanasy Fet Vladimir Solovyov Innokenty Annensky  Fyodor Sologub

Valery Bryusov  Sasha Chorny  Andrey Bely  David Burlyuk  Vasily Kamensky  Velimir Khlebnikov

Aleksei Kruchenykh Vladislav Khodasevich  Igor Severyanin  Anna Akhmatova  Vasilisk Gnedov 

Boris Pasternak  Osip Mandelstam  Mikhail Zenkevich  Marina Tsvetayeva  Yevgeny Kropivnitsky 

Vladimir Mayakovsky  Anatoly Mariengof  Nikolai Oleinikov  Daniil Kharms  Semeon Kirsanov Jan Satunovsky

Alexander Blok Nikolay Nekrasov Vyacheslav Ivanov Sergey Gorodetsky Zinaida Gippius Sophia Parnok
Nikolay Aseyev Georgy Ivanov Gavriil Derzhavin Nikolay Karamzin Alexander Pushkin Mikhail Lermontov





to dig from under the earth
to steal from the finger
to jump above the head
          sitting walk
          standing run
where to bury the ring
          hang in the noose
          swinging quietly




I cooked my brain on an iron rod
Adding pepper for seasoning and vinegars
So that it please you my dear muse
More than Igor Severyanin's smeared cake
So that you nibble tickling with your nail
The teat smelling of turpentine
My heart will be a somersault
Like nervous Kubelik's





in labor and in swinishness slovenlying
you grow up and become stronger my dear
like the proverbial girl who saved herself
burying her lower half in mud to the waist

crawl forward on knees in darkness and may
your voluntary neighbor light the way ahead




An American Grimace

Isn't it terrifying?
On the scape of skyscrapers and pipes
As though breakfast served –
the sick heart
          in a red vase.



Links To Russian Originals.





I walk while inhaling deeply
The vapors of Tsar Peter's swamps
And am untroubled by hunger's pangs,
Moved to inspiration happily.

[I walk just like the wind that ambles
Around the garden that's lost its leaves.]
How lovely – to sing while drowning.




(a Sonnet)


Forehead –


Shade –
To hell!

9 March 1928, Paris




In me is the beginning, in me the end.
What’s been accomplished by me a blink!
Yet still I am a reliable chain link:
This happiness to me has been given.

In the new but greater Russia they will
erect to me a Janus-faced idol at
the broad cross-roads of two city streets
where there's sand, time, and the wind whines….

January 1928, Paris


Links To Russian Originals.






And Do You Know?
                              Do you know the region where
                              everything in abundance breathes?
                                            Count A. K. Tolstoy

And do you know the region of modest hovels,
where hunger forces people toward heavy sins,
where it's always inhuman, faces are ever grim,
where the sound of laughter had faded long ago,
and where there are no doctors, books, or schools,
but where there are – alcohol, murder, and shackles?




A Little Elegy

She raised herself on her fingers
and made me a gift of her lips.
I kissed her a little tiredly
in the moist autumn silence.
Tears were dropping soundlessly
in the moist autumn silence.
The dreary day expired, we weary
like everything that isn't in a dream.





We live just as in a dream impenetrable
on one of the comfortable planets...
There are so many things we don't need,
and that which we want doesn't exist.



A Prelude

Moon shadows – shadows of sorrow –
Stumble about as a quiet herd,
Wearing black, like grief, earth's cover,
Tramping a ghostly hidden path.

They lovingly and gently rocked many,
And sensitively gave reflections back.
Moon shadows, shadows of sorrow,
Endlessly repeating my silhouette.


Links To Russian Originals.




ANNA AKHMATOVA (1889-1966)



Anna Akhmatova by Nathan Altman

I live like a cuckoo in the clock,
Not begrudging birds in the woods:
If they wind me up I sing.
You know my fate is such;
Only upon an enemy
Could I wish this thing.



Saw my friend off in the front hallway.
Stood alone awhile in the golden dust.
From the neighboring bell tower came,
Laden with importance, solemn chimes.
Abandoned!  That is a word invented –
Am I some fragile flower or a letter?
But the eyes are already staring fiercely
In the dresser's mirror that's turned dark.




Once we thought we were poor, we haven't anything,
But as soon as we began to lose one thing after another,
Then each day became
A Day of Remembrance –
We started to compose songs
About God's great munificence
And yes, about our former wealth.

                                            1915, Troitskii Bridge


There are words that can never be repeated;
He who has uttered them has lost too much.
The only things that cannot be exhausted
Is the sky's blue and the Lord's heart.

                              Winter 1916, Sevastopol



Yes, I loved them, those nightly gatherings.
On the little table, the ice-cold glasses,
Above the odorous black coffee, thin steam,
The red fireplace's heavy, winter heat,
A literary joke's comestible pleasure and,
Helpless and terrible, a friend's first glance.




To Akhmatova Audio and Video links



Poem of the Beginning (white)

Darkness births the stars,
Stars give birth to silence.
The month is born in fables,
Fables – tormentors of love.
We tore the thread and are sewing a net...
We'll tie up the loose thread,
Like the white wind that binds our hair!




            Death to Art; fifteen (15) poems


Poem 1. Moanings
Becomingness  – Ashes the Soul.

Poem 2. Goating
Goatly bubchigy – Lilacs.  Scrim of Sun.

Poem 3. Chicadeelia
Brokenness  -  Simplespeaking...  Mosses-Soundanger.

Poem 4. Lubbaly Sadness
Overfogged. Chickadee lived. Forgivery.

Poem 5. Missingness
I'll understand – unerstand – take my Soul.

Poem 6. Robcat
Male! – a-vi-cat.  Female! – a-vil-do.

Poem 7.  Tarling
Curlies – Old-fashioned Moral.

Poem 8. Thunderling
Silvering Thread – Thought-tub. Brows.

Poem 9.  Booboo Sadity
Booboo. Booboo. Booboo.

Poem 10. So                 Poem 11. Singy
Bynoborder.                 U -

Poem 12. Yesterdaying
To my little brother of 8 years – sweet Peter.

Poem 13.                     Poem 14.
Cruelt.                         Yu

The Poem of the End (15)



Links To Russian Originals.




To Next Section: Boris Pasternak  Osip Mandelstam  Mikhail Zenkevich  Marina Tsvetayeva  Yevgeny Kropivnitsky 


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