17 July 2012

Two Translations / Два перевода - The Eros Brigade / The Regiment of Eros / Рота Эрота

The Eros Brigade

Our colonel urged us, stickler that he was,

of brandy and boot leather redolent,

not to depetulate the flower of love

with hands impatient.

That’s what I said, you stupid prat—


Off sloped the soldiers, absent without leave,

and came back full of local moonshine,

into the tent where Gdr Lif-

shits L. was sleeping like King Solomon.

Their couple of hundred nostrils snored.

He sang his songs.

‘In my dreamland the trees bear garlands bright,

a neck of water gently flowing,

two swelling and uncharted heights,

a tight entrenchment edged with flowers’.

The colonel gave a nod, enthusiast:

sound, tinkling brass!

The song went on: ‘Lips are grenades, and honey

her words. But in them lurks a serpent...’

And what he loaded in the grenade thrower

flew far away, but failed to hit the target.

(Translation © G.S.Smith)

The Regiment of Eros

The colonel, the lout,

reeking of cognac and boot polish,

begged us not to snap the bud of love

with impatient hands.

What the fuck, you didn’t hear? --

don’t snap it off.

The soldiers would go AWOL

and return, brimming with booze,

to the tent where grenadier Lyova Lifshits

slept like King Solomon.

We wheezed through half a hundred nostrils –

and he was singing psalms.

“In the landscape of dream the trees are twisted,

the neck of the water tower stretches upward,

two nameless heights,

and a slit trench among the flowers.”

The colonel nodded:

Tinkle on, cymbal!

And he tinkled: “Her lips are grenadillas,

and honey are her words. But a sting hides within . . .”

And what he inserted into the grenade launcher

flew far, but failed to hit the target.


“Tinkle on, cymbal!”: Cf. 1 Corinthians 13.

(Translation © H.Pickford)

Рота Эрота

Нас умолял полковник наш, бурбон,

пропахший коньяком и сапогами,

не разлеплять любви бутон

нетерпеливыми руками.

А ты не слышал разве, блядь, –

не разлеплять.

Солдаты уходили в самовол

и возвращались, гадостью налившись,

в шатер, где спал, как Соломон,

гранатометчик Лева Лифшиц.

В полста ноздрей сопели мы –

он пел псалмы.

“В ландшафте сна деревья завиты,

вытягивается водокачки шея,

две безымянных высоты,

в цветочках узкая траншея”.

Полковник головой кивал:

бряцай, кимвал!

И он бряцал: “Уста – гранаты, мед –

ее слова. Но в них сокрыто жало…”

И то, что вставлял в гранатомет,

летело вдаль, но цель не поражало.

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