Saturday Night Poetry: Pushkin

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these. That’s sad, as I used to do this nearly every week when I had my old blog.

Tonight’s poem is by Aleksandr Pushkin, the father of Russian literature. It’s called “It’s time, my friend, it’s time!” and it has a very special place in my heart. When I was in second-year Russian over three years ago, I memorized this little poem (in Russian, of course) for an oral exam.

This translation is mine – don’t be too harsh in judging it. I fully admit I am a terrible translator of poetry.

It’s time, my friend, it’s time! the heart demands peace – 
Day by day flies by, and each hour takes away
A small part of existence, but we together
Intend to live, and look – at once – we die.
In the world is no happiness, but there is peace and free will.
Long have I dreamed of another lot –
Long have I, a tired slave, planned an escape
To a faraway abode of labor and pure delights.


In the original Russian:

Пора, мой друг, пора! покоя сердца просит –
Летят за днями дни, и каждый час уносит
Частичку бытия, а мы с тобой вдвоeм
Предполагаем жить, и глядь – как раз – умрем.
На свете счастья нет, но есть покой и воля.
Давно завидная мечтается мне доля –
Давно, усталый раб, замыслил я побег
В обитель дальную трудов и чистых нег.

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2 thoughts on “Saturday Night Poetry: Pushkin

  1. Minor nit picking – воля in this context likely means freedom and not free will. Freedom in the sense of lacking restrictions/constraints.

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