02 November 2014

A Journey 3. In the English Canal / The Journey 3. In the English Channel / Путешествие 3. В Английском канале

A Journey

3. In the English Canal

For Tanya and David Chambers

Swollen sun hanging over the Channel.
As if I’d come home worse for wear,
it gives me a glare like some harridan
Kommandant of those flats Soviets shared.

So why should they pick on poor Lyosha?
I spilled it, so I’ll clean it up.
Look! Baby baths, boots, and galoshes!
This corridor’s cluttered with stuff.

The tossing and rolling is awful,
hold tight to the rail, then release.
The head-honcho seagull screams orders,
then curses and shrieks the reverse.

That icebreaker there—I know her.
Butting home to her Klaipeda berth,
she looks like my old uncle Kolya,
with that hung-over Russian stern.

It’s early, but daylight’s expiring.
The skipper disperses his troop,
and his boat starts clearing her pipework—
O, that woebegone foghorn trump!

Her rubicund nose is pitching,
and meanwhile, above her rear end,
cocky still, though in final position,
flies her handkerchief, faded and stained.

(Translation © 2014 G.S. Smith)

The Journey

3. In the English Channel

                 for T. and D. Chambers

The swollen sun of La Manche,
as if I’d had one too many,
was staring at me, like a lady hetman,
the terror of communal apartments.

Now, why are you picking on Lyosha,
I spilled it, so I’ll wipe it up.
Out there, bassinets, overshoes, and galoshes
clutter up your corridor.

You’re right, we sure are rocking:
first lean towards the bar, then push backwards.
I hear the orders, whims, and curses
of the seagulls’ commander.

And in the icebreaker wandering
homeward to Klaipeda, I recognize
Uncle Kolya’s familiar features,
with his baggy Russian stern.

Dusk is already falling.
The commander has dispersed his squadron,
and Kolya begins to blow his nose—
O, that melancholy trumpet call!

His red nose swings and from
behind, self-contented, hangs
his dirty and faded
little handkerchief.

(Translation © Henry W. Pickford)


3. В Английском канале

Т.и Д.Чемберс

Опухшее солнце Ла Манша,
как будто я лишку хватил,
уставилось, как атаманша,
гроза коммунальных квартир.

Ну что ты цепляешься к Леше —
я пролил, так я и подтер.
Вон — ванночки, боты, калоши
захламили твой коридор.

Да, правда, нас сильно качает:
то к бару прильни, то отпрянь.
Я слышу начальника чаек
приказы, капризы и брань.

И я узнаю в ледоколе,
бредущем в Клайпеду, домой,
родные черты дяди Коли
с отвисшей российской кормой.

Уже начинает смеркаться,
начальник своих разогнал,
а он начинает сморкаться —
о, трубный тоскливый сигнал!

Качается нос его красный,
а сзади, довольный собой,
висит полинялый и грязный
платочек его носовой.

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