Maiakovsky

Lilichka

Tobacco smoke has consumed the air.
The room
is a chapter in Kruchenykh’s inferno.
Remember –
beyond that window
in a frenzy
I first stroked your hands.
You sit here today
with an iron-clad heart.
Oone more day
you’ll toss me out,
perhaps, cursing.
In the dim front hall my arm,
broken by trembling won’t fit right away in my sleeve.
I’ll run out,
throw my body into the street.
I’ll rave,
wild,
lashed by despair.
Don’t let it happen
my dear,
my darling,
let us part now.
After all
my love
is a heavy weight
hanging on you
no matter where you go.
Let me bellow a final cry
of bitter, wounded grievance.
If you drive a bull to exhaustion
he will run away,
lay himself down in the cold waters.
Besides your love
I have
no ocean
and your love won’t grant even a tearful plea for rest.
When a tired elephant wants peace
he lies down regally in the firebound sand.
Besides your love
I have
no sun,
but I don’t even know where you are and with whom.
If you tortured a poet like this,
he
would berate his beloved for money and fame,
but for me
no sound is joyous
but the sound of your beloved name.
I won’t throw myself downstairs
or drink poison
nor can I put a gun to my head.
No blade
holds me transfixed
but your glance.
Tomorrow you’ll forget
that I have crowned you,
that I burned my flowering soul with love,
and the whirling carnival of trivial days
will ruffle the pages of my books…
Would the dry leaves of my words
force you to a stop
gasping for air?

At least let me
pave with a parting endearment
your retreating path.

 

from Past one o’clock 

I know the power of words, I know words’ tocsin.
They’re not the kind applauded by the boxes.
From words like these coffins burst from the earth
and on their own four oaken legs stride forth.
It happens they reject you, unpublished, unprinted.
But saddle-girths tightening words gallop ahead.
See how the centuries ring and trains crawl
to lick poetry’s calloused hands.
I know the power of words. Seeming trifles that fall
like petals beneath the heel-taps of dance.
But man with his soul, his lips, his bones.

 

Vladimir Maiakovsky (1893-1930)

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