Four Poems

***

It seems so far from whence it came, its two
inscriptions barely made out by the eye
at night—a vague sign on an avenue,
hanging above the heads of passersby.
 
Yet still it sails towards my window pane,
brushing snow for luck, a letter sent,
though, without any memory retained
of what it does or doesn't represent.
 
Who is aboard? Tell me, or please explain.
What lies behind the words Fresh Bread, like freight
that hints it’s time for light to come again?
(Sunrise the pretext/union worth the wait.)
 
You who direct my words towards warm light,
you are both very masterful and holy,
breaking the back of this cold winter night
and this code (but not with the letter’s body).
 
 
Translated from the Russian by Leo Yankevich
 
 

***

People roam the stalks
searching for new life there,
and each just talks and talks—
as if all is prepared:
 
among them all the chatter
is an old dirty wall
(no wallpaper—dusty litter—
still glued before the fall.
 
Rolled-up is a stalk
whose creaking sound is white, 
as if it wished to mock,
were march woods in the light. 
 
Yet nothing can renew
a homestead been undone.
(Better if the glue
were fiery setting sun.)
 
 
Translated from the Russian by Leo Yankevich
 
 
 

***

A storm cloud strikes a street
with hail to mask despair
(a passage to this earth
with no choice in the air)?
 
The creation, liberty
here, the movement within
brightly lit, only
street lamps and summer din?
 
Hailstones, feel the choice?
At evening seen by all:
it comes abruptly, weightless
in the waterfall.
 
And you, before your fall,
can touch a street lamp's beam
amid the misty noises
and follow light to dream.
 
 
Translated from the Russian by Leo Yankevich
 

 

***

Woods, too tired to walk into the white,
did you not find a way to warm up
to the blue amid the branches, wound
round pines along a squirrel run?
 
The opposite with people. They must squeeze
their bodies into heavy clothes,
and yet they do not manage to get warm—
their blood squeezed slowly into numbness.
 
In people, too: a body with no room
for the warming of the soul, even
a body with sufficient ease of movement,
even when it’s comfortable.
 
What shall I be wound round by? On tree trunks
in a clearing there is a squirrel run,
striving for a soft and fiery height
higher than the eye can see.
 
 
Translated from the Russian by Leo Yankevich
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About Aleksey Porvin

Aleksey Porvin is Russian poet. Translations of his poems can be found in Ryga Journal, Saint-Petersburg Review, SUSS, The Dirty Goat, and World Literature Today. His first collection, The Darkness is White, was published in Moscow by Argo-Risk Press.