Monday, May 01, 2006

Last day of April

A fulsome Sunday in the city. Starting with a less-than-thrilling opera, Miss Lonely Hearts, at The Julliard, then a party for a short-short film based on Jeanne Beaumont's wonderful poem "Afraid So," which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, followed by Queer Ink, at the Bowery, and ending with a launch of New Translations of Osip Mandelstam by Ugly Duckling Presse. I ran out of steam before the final reading finished, but I leave you with this brilliant translation by Ilya Bernstein, who also read it beautifully.

You're not dead yet, you're not yet all alone,
As long as with your beggar lady-friend
You take delight in the greatness of plains
And in the cold, the snow, and the darkness.

In splendid indigence, in might poverty,
Live in tranquility and contentment.
Those days are blessed, blessed are those nights,
And the sweet labor of song is blameless.

He is unhappy who is cut down by the wind
And fears the barking of dogs in his own shadow.
And he is poor who, half alive himself,
Goes begging for alms from a shadow.

January 15, 1937. Translated by Ilya Bernstein

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