‘Blessed is he…’ (Timur Kibirov)

Blessed is he who has grown on his plot of land
Agricultural products–white cabbage
And onions, beetroot, potatoes
Carrots and Jerusalem artichoke.

Blessed is he who once Autumn comes has prepared
Pickled gherkins, pickled cabbage,
Blessed is he who has grated currants with sugar
And made jam out of sweet cherries.

Blessed is he whose pension is sufficient
For groceries and for provisions
For matches, salt, lump sugar and vegetable
Oil. And even for toffees!

Who has no need to dog the steps
Of the local ungodly council!

Blessed is he who has felt boots for the winter
And a roof over his defenceless head.

Who has a cat for mice, a dog for burglars,
But what sort of a watchdog would Ladka make, really?

And if there should be some kind of necessity,
A bottle of moonshine is stored in the basement.

If only Zhora had not found out about that,
But now there’ll be no end of trouble with him!

And if he bursts into tears over an old photograph–
The same thing, surely it has been said:

Blessed are those who weep–they shall be comforted
And meet once more. And never shall they be parted.


Блажен взрастивший на сотках собственных

Сельхозпродукты — белокочанную

Капусту, и репчатый лук, и свеклу,

Картошку, моркошку и топинамбур,

Блажен по осени заготовивший
Огурцов соленых, капустки квашеной,

Блажен перетерший с песком смородину

И наваривший из шпанки варенье!

Блажен, кому достаточно пенсии
На бакалею и гастрономию,

На спички, соль, рафинад и масло

Постное. Даже на карамельки!

Кому слоняться путями грешными
Нет ни малейшей необходимости,

Кому ни к чему обивать пороги

В местном совете нечестивых!

Блажен имущий на зиму валенки
И крышу над головой беззащитною,

Кота от мышей, от воров собаку,

Хотя какой уж из Ладки сторож!

А коль случится какая надобность,
Бутыль самогонки хранится в подполе.

Только б о том не проведал Жора,

А то греха с ним не оберешься!

А если всплакнется над фотографией
Старенькой — что же, ведь было сказано:

Блаженны плачущие — они утешатся

И снова встретятся. И не расстанутся.

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3 Responses to “‘Blessed is he…’ (Timur Kibirov)”

  1. Erik McDonald Says:

    Thanks for posting this poem and your translation! I like the way “local ungodly council” (rather than “ungodly local council”) gets your attention.

    I read line 20 of the Russian (18 of the translation) differently. Could “Хотя какой уж из Ладки сторож!” mean “But what sort of guard/watchdog would Ladka make, really?” rather than “Although there is hardly a guard against Ladka”? Also, I think you meant “has grated currants” in line 7.

    • notesofanidealist Says:

      Thanks, that’s very helpful and I’ve adopted your corrections above. Now I’m looking forward to some enjoyable pedantry with the Hebrew/Greek/Church Slavonic texts of Psalm 1 when I get home!

  2. Best Poems of 2010 | Notes of an idealist Says:

    […] ‘….to learn to react to the world’ .   I have to say that ‘Blessed is he…’ really is very very good, and thanks to some help from  Erik McDonald the translation’s not […]

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