My Favorite Pushkin Poem

Like the typical Russian, I love Pushkin’s work. It’s so profound and heartbreaking and it captures the very essence of all tortured souls. Unfortunately, it’s really difficult to translate and make it sound as good in English as it sounds in Russian. Nonetheless, I tried. Here’s my favorite Puskin poem, translated by yours truly.

The Angel

By the gates of Eden, an Angel, gentle

Shone with his softly drooping head,

And in the darkness a Demon, rebel

Over the hellish ravine fled

The sp’rit of doubt and of negation

Looked at the other one of good

And in a flame of forced elation

For the first time, he understood

“Pardon,” he said, “but I have seen you

And not in vain you’ve shined me light

Not all in heaven I had hated,

Not all on earth I had despised.”

Alexander Pushkin

Translated by Viktoria Nikola

One of my favorite Russian Poems

So I endeavored to translate one of my favorite Russian poems by Nikolai Zinoviev:

"I'm Russian"

On the steps of mortal dust and vapor 

A human sat and cried with dread

Then past him walked the God creator

He stopped and sat and to him said

"I am a friend to those downtrodden 

Protector of the broken, blue

I know enriching words to trod in

I am your God, there's nothing I can't do

Your gloomy face is to me crushing

What tragedy fills up your brim?"

The human said, "I am a Russian."

And God began to cry with him.

The original: 

Я Русский

В степи, покрытой пылью бренной,
Сидел и плакал человек.
А мимо шёл Творец Вселенной.
Остановившись, Он изрек:
“Я друг униженных и бедных,
Я всех убогих берегу,
Я знаю много слов заветных.
Я есмь твой Бог. Я всё могу.
Меня печалит вид твой грустный,
Какой нуждою ты тесним?”
И человек сказал: “Я - русский”,
И Бог заплакал вместе с ним.

Н.А. Зиновьев