Archive for December, 2013

‘The blind man’s getting bills for light’ (Vitaly Pukhanov)

December 11, 2013

The blind man’s getting bills for light
In summer, and the kitchen has  gas
Agitated, he thinks something’s not right
Since unseeing his days all pass.

A shaky connection: the man next door
Bangs with his bag at the door
He’d left on lights in the corridor
And they burned for a month or more.

You happen to glance at an angel in flight
And in your declining years you find
You’re getting bills for the heavenly light
While you are helpless and blind.

So much you’ll never get to shake off
However you may curse your plight
Either be sure to turn heaven’s light off
Or be careful and keep your sight.

Виталий Пуханов

Виталий Пуханов

Слепому приходят счета за свет.
Лето. На кухне газ.
Переживает, ищет ответ:
С детства живет без глаз.

Зыбкая связь: заходил сосед,
Сумкой в дверях гремел,
Не погасил в коридоре свет.
Целый месяц горел!

Бросишь ангелу взгляд вослед,
А на старости лет
Идут счета за небесный свет.
Ты бессилен и слеп.

Столько не вытрясешь из горсти,
Сколько ни умоляй:
Или небесный свет погаси,
Или не ослепляй.

the rock (Aleksei Tsvetkov)

December 8, 2013

the governor general launches his forces at a trot
legendary raid on the spanish battery
third year since blood clotted deep misery
at night clean the guns in the morning queue for the barber
amongst leisure activity scurvy in the mouth deceit in the head
salt beef between your teeth all day dry crusts in your pocket
the commanders horse in the cauldron and for dinner
a couple of stallions the frog send them a summons from his arse
even a bow to the balls in the garrison soup but we
will not give up gibraltar

in the fifty-eighth battalion one abroad
slightly lowered his sails to relieve the body in nature
above whistling over the parapet head to hell from a cannonball
the remaining organism continues the business like an eagle
or a miss was also putting on stockings in the tent
splattered in unknown fragments in the heat here
you will not ram it down in the grave at the funeral a pair
they say only one of the stockings was found afterward
in the positions its checkmate but a whisper is heard softly
we will not give up gibraltar

ah to go home to molly and to yorkshire
here with my neighbour the talk flowed exactly about that
suddenly a start someone is killed whether its him or me
but who to as if theres neither me nor him
the floating batteries are rushing at us not giving a damn
for martial honour unimportant whos dead whos alive
from an ugly cannonball or sunstroke
the doctor has to uproot almost a quarter by evening
all extremities in a heap we will give up shit and piss
we will not give up gibraltar

governor general eliot has above him
now no authority or power in creation
he disturbs the universe in the necessary places of systems
he rearranges the parts in damaged atoms
we and the dead are firmer than the sky and this rock
in calm weather as if under glass the width of a table
and when the last uranium of the attack hangs over us
time will evaporate and eternity will reach rock bottom
we will give up where it is custom our decrepit souls
we will not give up gibraltar

скала

генерал-губернатор пускает рысью войска
легендарный рейд на испанскую батарею
третий год как свернулась кровью густая тоска
ночью чистка стволов утром очередь к брадобрею
из досугов в пасти цинга в голове обман
солонину в зубы с утра сухари в карман
командирская лошадь в котле и к ужину пара
жеребцов лягушатник шлёт им повестку с кормы
даже яйцам поклон в гарнизонном супе но мы
не сдадим гибралтара

в пятьдесят восьмом батальоне один за бугром
приспустил паруса облегчить на природе тело
сверху свист над бруствером бошку к чертям ядром
остальной организм орлом продолжает дело
или дамочка тоже чулки надевала в шатре
разнесло в неизвестные брызги по здешней жаре
в гроб на похороны не утрамбуешь пара
из чулок лишь один говорят нашёлся потом
на позициях мат но мерещится шёпотом
не сдадим гибралтара

эх бы к молли домой да в йоркширские края
тут с соседом как раз об этом текла беседа
вдруг шарахнуло кто-то убит это он или я
но кого спросить если нет ни меня ни соседа
к нам плавучие крепости мчатся член положив
на военную честь неважно кто мёртв кто жив
от дурного ядра или солнечного угара
чуть не четверть к вечеру корчевать врачу
все конечности в кучу кал сдадим и мочу
не сдадим гибралтара

генерал-губернатор элиот тот над кем
нынче нет в творенье ни авторитета ни власти
искривляет вселенную в нужных местах систем
в повреждённых атомах переставляет части
мы и мёртвые тверже чем небо и эта скала
в штиль словно под стеклом ширина стола
и когда нависнет последний уран удара
испарится время и вечность покажет дно
мы сдадим где положено ветхие души но
не сдадим гибралтара

‘A cow has got tangled…’ (Bulat Ayusheev)

December 4, 2013

A cow has got tangled in barbed wire, emaciated,
For the third day it is lying beside the branching
Willow enclosed by a fence, the whitewash
Is all flaked off, the boards are propped up from within,
The booth has been knocked together very roughly from the top,
And on the point a crescent shows white.

Over the river, opposite, is a Tatar settlement,
The poplars are pale from the wind, the road
Between the houses dusts up if someone drives along it,
But that happens rarely, the potato flowers
Are fading, and waves run over the top
Bending the leaves, and no people are seen.

Only an old woman is weeding the grass in a kitchen garden
Over her the moths are flying.
Now she has straightened up and looks
From under her hand across the river into the sun,
She cannot understand why it is from the nameless grave
The willow so desperately shakes its branches.

Булат Аюшеев

Булат Аюшеев

Корова запуталась в проволоке, исхудала,
Третий день лежит рядом с ветвистой
Ивой, обнесенной оградкой, побелка
Вся обсыпалась, доски снутри подперты,
Очень грубо сколочена сверху будка,
И белеет на острие полумесяц.

Через реку напротив татарский поселок,
Тополя от ветра бледнеют, дорога
Меж домами пылит, если кто проедет,
Но такое случается редко, картошка
Отцветает, и волны ходят по верху,
Пригибая ботву, и людей не видно.

Лишь траву в огороде полет старуха,
Наклоняясь низко, над нею летают
Мотыльки. Вот разогнулась и смотрит
Против солнца за речку из-под ладони,
Не поймет, зачем с безымянной могилы
Так отчаянно ветками машет ива.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two radical addresses in South East London

December 1, 2013
26 Barset Road SE15

26 Barset Road SE15

According to Sarah Young’s map of ‘Russian’ sites in London, 26 Barset Road (as above) was one of the correspondence addresses for Iskra. Clearly this is not the same building as, and possibly not even the site of the original No. 26, which may have been something like these houses nearby:

Howbury Road may have the only original houses hereabouts

Howbury Road may have the only original houses hereabouts

Meanwhile, not so far away at 22 Stondon Park SE23 we find a house with a plaque to commemorate Jim Connell, who wrote the words to The Red Flag while coming home by train in 1889.

22 Stondon Park SE23

22 Stondon Park SE23

Shaky picture of plaque

Shaky picture of plaque

It’s interesting that the second verse

Look ’round, the Frenchman loves its blaze,
The sturdy German chants its praise;
In Moscow’s vaults its hymns are sung,
Chicago swells its surging song.

seems to refer to the Haymarket Affair of 1886, recently alluded to in this blog.  ‘Moscow’ could refer to the assassination of Alexander II in 1881 and the consequent loss of his proposed constitution and other liberalising reforms.

Bussy D’Ambois, St Giles Church 30 November

December 1, 2013

***

During the afterpiece

During the afterpiece

Our readers will readily understand the French court as a place replete with corruption, treachery, traffic with unclean spirits, adultery, deceit and malice.  But this version of Bussy D’Ambois rather downplayed the context and left Bussy as an over-reacher floating free of Christopher Marlowe.

The story is as ever set out in Wikipedia.  I enjoyed the elements of original practice and the way the play had been made to work in the nave, aisle, gallery, choir and pulpit of the church.  The fight scenes were especially impressive, and the black-clad spirits did very well in representing sex on stage without it becoming ridiculous and in representing black-clad spirits as well.  However, the reverberant church acoustic made it difficult to catch all the words and some plot points like the friar dying and then continuing as a ghost rather passed one by; as did the distinction between Monsieur (the king’s brother who recruits the destitute Bussy to do his evil bidding) and Montsurry (the husband of Bussy’s love).

There are times when the production resembled a parody of Jacobean tragedy, where everyone is killed and tortured but continues to speechify at length, and the text would have made a wonderful libretto for a Verdi opera, but has its problems as a play, at least to modern sensibilities.

But I would certainly recommend people to take advantage of the remaining dates–there is a great deal to admire and learn from in this production, and at £5 it’s very good value for money in anyone’s terms!