Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Reading Alexander Pushkin's poems

I am not an inveterate poetry reader but I do enjoy poetry once in a while. Some years ago I had bought a translation of Urdu poetry by Khushwant Singh and had enjoyed them. Last month a collection of poems by Vikram Seth – Rivered Earth - drew my attention. I bought it and liked all the poems, some translations of ancient Chinese poems with the historical incidents on which the poems were based explained and others poems on Indian mythological characters and various other themes. All of them were good.

Last Saturday I bought a collection by Alexander Pushkin, a 19th century Russian poet. Pushkin was among the first poets to write stories in verse. Vikram Seth’s The Golden Gate, a verse novel, was inspired by Pushkin’s work. It’s said about Pushkin’s poetry that they don’t translate well into English (or any other language), but I am finding the poems well translated, in easy, fluid language that’s nice to read. I have not finished the book but am taking a dip some times and am liking the experience. Pushkin’s style is simple and his poems are mostly based on his experiences and reflections on various aspects of life, Russia and social themes. Here is one of his poems.


The dead delights of frenzied younger days

Weigh on me like alcoholic haze.

The aching sadness of my past endures

And, like good wine, gains body as it matures.

My future life is grim without relief,

A surging swell of struggle, toil and grief.

And yet, my friends, I have no wish to die;

I want to suffer, live and wonder why.

I know I can expect amid the torment,

Trouble and care a rare delicious moment.

Sweet harmonies just fill me with delight

And I shall weep with joy for what I write.

And it may be that at my sad demise

A smile of love shall light in someone else’s eyes.

Pushkin is considered among the greatest Russian poets. However, he didn't die the death befitting his stature as a poet. He died of a freak accident: while having a fight with his wife.


Ellen said...

The poem is indeed lovely. Glad that you shared it. Or I wouldn't have discovered Pushkin at all. :-) Thank you.

By the way, it was nice seeing you again in my blog. You have been missed, my friend.

Take care. Blessings to you and yours.

indrablog said...

Hi Elen,
Nice to have you back. Ya, Pushkin is nice to read.


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