By Heart

Inspired by today’s prompt at The Daily Post

When I saw today’s writing prompt—what’s the first poem that comes to mind if you’re asked to recite a poem from memory—my mind immediately jumped to Russian poetry. (No surprises there.) For my oral exam in second-year Russian, I had to memorize a poem and I’ve never forgotten it. It’s a Pushkin poem called “It’s time, my friend.” Here’s an English translation. (I am uninspired to translate, due to an exhausting day at work!)

It’s time, my friend, it’s time! The peace is craved by hearts…
Days flow after days — each hour departs
A bit of life — and both, you and I,
Plan a long life, but could abruptly die.

The world hasn’t happiness, but there is freedom, peace.
And long have I daydreamed the life of bliss —
And long have planned, a tired slave, the flight
To the removed abode of labor and delight.

Of course, it is so much better in Russian, so here’s the original for those who read the great and mighty Russian language.

Пора, мой друг, пора! покоя сердце просит —
Летят за днями дни, и каждый час уносит
Частичку бытия, а мы с тобой вдвоём
Предполагаем жить, и глядь — как раз — умрём.

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.

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “By Heart

  1. Your beautiful message reminded me of a German poem that my grandmother taught my mother and that she, in turn taught me, and that has remained in my heart all these years: “Du bist wie eine Blume” by Heinrich Heine. Best regards!

    From: Fluent Historian Reply-To: Fluent Historian Date: Wednesday, November 5, 2014 6:23 PM To: Berkeley Blatz Subject: [New post] By Heart

    WordPress.com Natalie K. posted: “Inspired by today’s prompt at The Daily Post When I saw today’s writing prompt—what’s the first poem that comes to mind if you’re asked to recite a poem from memory—my mind immediately jumped to Russian poetry. (No surprises there.) For my oral exam in”

    1. I’ve never seen a poetry translation that I truly liked, unfortunately. And I’m also quite bad at translating it myself. Nevertheless, I do feel the poem’s meaning comes across in this translation, so that’s something.

Comments are closed.