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Good Bye, Bella…

It was a great weekend in Southern California. Even better – no emails, no news, I did not check internet once. But Monday had to come and I had to get on a computer… to find out that one of my favorite poets died at age of 73 – Bella Achmadullina. I suddenly remembered Tatiana Michailovna, and the literature lessons, and the forest outside of the class window. I remembered laughing at a clumsy Andrei reading a poem by the blackboard, probably, not the one written by Bella Achmadullina. It was all back in Ufa, my gorgeous hometown, where my life was full of art, literature and culture, where people quote Pushkin and Dostoevski in casual conversations and where I had to learn by heart Bella’s poems for grades. Dear Bella, you suddenly brought me home and I hope you are in a good place yourself, too. I will remember your poems and read them to my future kids.

МАЗУРКА ШОПЕНА

Какая участь нас постигла,

как повезло нам в этот час,

когда бегущая пластинка

одна лишь разделяла нас!

Сначала тоненько шипела,

как уж, изъятый из камней,

но очертания Шопена

приобретала всё слышней.

И забирала круче, круче,

и обещала: быть беде,

и расходились эти круги,

как будто круги по воде.

И тоненькая, как мензурка

внутри с водицей голубой,

стояла девочка-мазурка,

покачивая головой.

Как эта, с бедными плечами,

по-польски личиком бела,

разведала мои печали

и на себя их приняла?

Она протягивала руки

и исчезала вдалеке,

сосредоточив эти звуки

в иглой исчерченном кружке.

1958

Mazurka Of Chopin

Oh, what a great was our fortune,

we were so lucky at the times,

when was a running disk of Chopin,

the only border between us.

First, the she-disk made quiet hisses,

as a grass-snake, caught on a floor,

but the bewitching Chopin’s features

became else clearly heard in her.

And, a thin graduate,that’s filled in

with water of blue colorant,

a girl-mazurka stood there, real,

nodding with her delightful head.

How was she able with her shoulder

and face as pale as of the Pole,

to understand all pains, I hold in,

and, for her self, receive them all?

She would stretch gently her arms out

to me …and vanish in far land,

leaving all sounds in the round line,

drawn by the needle’s end.

Translated by Yevgeny Bonver

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