Thursday, August 2, 2007

Five Poems by Gennady Aigi translated by Anatoly Kudryavitsky

The following translations were first published in

A Night in the Nabokov Hotel.
20 Contemporary Poets from Russia

Dedalus Press, Ireland, 2006 (

The other Russian poets from this anthology here

© Anatoly Kudryavitsky 2006

All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced
in any form or by any means
without the prior permission of the copyright holder.

Пять стихотворений Геннадия Айги

Из цикла «Тишина» / Hush
Клен на окраине города /A Maple on the Outskirts of Town
Дождь / The Rain

Метель в окне /Snowstorm in My Window
Путь / Our Way

Из цикла «Тишина»

а те с того самого времени как начали
видеть свет божий
стали впервые теперь различать
черное от белого
и пришли в восторг и торопятся уже сообщить
вот это – белое
а это черное


…and some people
have been trying to tell
the black from the white
since the very first moment
they saw the daylight…
they succeed at long last
and go into raptures
and hasten to
bring to our notice:
this is white
and that is black

Клен на окраине города

какое же во дереве
как будто в целом мире
есть только он один – сентябрьско-тихий клен!
о нет о больше… – словно то присутствие:
ты – перед дверью некой
притих и знаешь: есть – теперь лишь это «там»
что более понятий
без объяснения… – вхожденье же возможно
(уход – покой – забвенье)
ценою лишь одной: не видеть более
вот этот клен – сентябрьский

A Maple on the Outskirts of Town

how much silence
is hidden inside the tree
as if it’s the only thing existing
in the wide world –
this quiet September maple!

o no there is much more to it –
like some kind of presence:
you stand before a door
you are calm and knowing:
the only important thing
is in there
and it is bigger than any concept

no need for explanation
but entry is possible
(departure – peace – oblivion)
at the cost of not seeing anymore
this quiet September maple


и моросит и утихает
как будто возится сама с собой “случайность”

(как “одаренность” годная
лишь для набросков жалких)

как будто “есть” “живет”

(в кругу – как я – ненужности)

The Rain

drizzles and subsides
as if ‘fortuity’
is romping with itself

(just as a ‘talent’
capable only of middling sketches)

as if ‘it exists’ really exists

(in the circle of uselessness –
exactly where I find myself)

Метель в окне


Метель в окне и стены комнаты
и затеряв меня давно во вьюге дом
рисунков на стенах собрание как в прятках
как в юности – в ее далекой свежести
когда (метель) окно: как тайну: ладила
свое: то там то здесь:
немного поправляя

Snowstorm in My Window

(For V.Y.)

a snowstorm in my window –
and these walls of my room –
my house lost sight of me in a blizzard long ago
the collection of drawings on the walls
playing hide-and-seek with me –
reminds me of how it used to be in my youth
in those days of freshness
when it (the snowstorm) decorated my window
building a mystery and going into details
adjusting every little thing:
now here, now there


Когда нас никто не любит
любить матерей

Когда нам никто не пишет
старых друзей

И слова произносим уже лишь потому
что молчанье нам страшно
а движенья опасны

В конце же – в случайных запущенных парках
плачем от жалких труб
жалких оркестров

Our Way

When nobody likes us
we learn
how to love our mothers

When nobody writes to us
we call to mind
old friends

And we utter a few words – simply because
we are scared of silence
and deem any movement dangerous

And in the end we find ourselves
in a park overgrown with shrubs –
and we sob as we hear the pitiable trumpets
of a pitiable brass band

Translated from the Russian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky


Gennady Aigi (1934 – 2006) was born in the Chuvash Republic, and lived in Moscow. His translations of French poetry into Chuvash language brought him recognition at the beginning of his career as a writer. However his unusual work wasn’t welcomed in Russian periodicals and publishing houses. Since perestroyka he published many critically acclaimed books of his poetry in Russian and Chuvash, as well as numerous essays and translations. His poems were translated into many languages. Without exaggeration, he was the most celebrated Russian poet of the time. A book of his poems in French translations entitled Veronica’s Notebook was published in Paris in 1984. Peter France of Edinburgh published two books of his translations from Aigi into English, much appreciated. Aigi was awarded the Golden Wreath of Struga (Macedonia), the French Academy Translators’ Award and the Andrey Belyi Prize for Poetry (1987). In 2000, he was awarded the first ever Boris Paternak Prize for Poetry.

Aigi in Russian Wikipedia:

Aigi on the Unofficial Russian Poetry site:

The website of the translator (Anatoly Kudryavitsky): in Russian and in English