Tchaikovsky statue‘To Tchaikovsky’ by A.N. Apukhtin, Translated by Olga Dumer The Society January 22, 2022 Beauty, Culture, Music, Poetry, Translation 13 Comments . To Tchaikovsky by A.N. Apukhtin (1840-1893) | Translated from Russian by Olga Dumer With my musician friend’s departure A minor key pervades my lines. Yet, like a fugue’s evolving texture, Old friendship amplifies with time. We played together, with bravura, Our youthful daring prelude. Since adolescence, fame’s allure Thrilled our hearts with festive mood. And we had faith in our flair, We shared our feelings and beliefs… Within the score of my young years Yours was the leading leitmotif. Alas! That melody once faded, Another tune took hold of me, My sense of harmony abated And often I would sing off key. My life without aim or fortune Like tedious scales, is dull and bland. God-given talent hasn’t flourished, And my finale is near at hand. But when the time comes for my burial And I transcend to the Divine,— Please in the chords of your memorial Don’t mark me with a natural sign. . Original Russian А. Н. Апухтин П. Чайковскому К отъезду музыканта-друга Мой стих минорный тон берет, И нашей старой дружбы фуга, Все развиваяся, растет… Мы увертюру жизни бурной Сыграли вместе до конца, Грядущей славы марш бравурный Нам рано волновал сердца; В свои мы верили таланты, Делились массой чувств, идей… И был ты вроде доминанты В аккордах юности моей. Увы, та песня отзвучала, Иным я звукам отдался, Я детонировал немало И с диссонансами сжился; Давно без счастья и без дела Дары небес я растерял Мне жизнь, как гамма, надоела, И близок, близок мой финал… Но ты — когда для жизни вечной Меня зароют под землей, – Ты в нотах памяти сердечной Не ставь бекара предо мной. 1893 г. . . The Albatross by Chales Baudelaire (1821-1867) | Translated from French by Olga Dumer Gripped by ennui on lengthy ocean crossings, To while away their leisure time aboard, Bored sailors capture birds, the mighty albatrosses, That follow ships like gallant winged escorts. When put on deck, amidst the teasing crowd, The king of winds, who easily would soar Into ethereal space to haunt the stormy clouds, Drags awkwardly his wings, like heavy futile oars. The lord of azure skies, how timid he appears! The speedy messenger, how clumsy is his gait! Some jab their pipes into his beak in jeer, Some limp like him in front of rowdy mates. This is the Poet’s fate; his spirit flies, unbound; In thunderous heights it effortlessly rules, But his majestic wings impede him on the ground, From walking in the throng of haughty, hooting fools. . Original French C. Baudelaire L’Albatros Souvent, pour s’amuser, les hommes d’équipage Prennent des albatros, vastes oiseaux des mers, Qui suivent, indolents compagnons de voyage, Le navire glissant sur les gouffres amers. À peine les ont-ils déposés sur les planches, Que ces rois de l’azur, maladroits et honteux, Laissent piteusement leurs grandes ailes blanches Comme des avirons traîner à côté d’eux. Ce voyageur ailé, comme il est gauche et veule! Lui, naguère si beau, qu’il est comique et laid! L’un agace son bec avec un brûle-gueule, L’autre mime, en boitant, l’infirme qui volait! Le Poète est semblable au prince des nuées Qui hante la tempête et se rit de l’archer; Exilé sur le sol au milieu des huées, Ses ailes de géant l’empêchent de marcher. . . Olga Dumer was born and educated in Moscow, Russia. Both her B.A. and M.A. degrees were in English Language and Literature and she obtained her Ph.D. in Linguistics at the Russian Academy of Sciences. Since her family moved to the USA, she has been teaching English, ESL and Linguistics in California. Her translations have been published in Four Centuries: Russian Poetry in Translation. https://perelmuterverlag.de/four%20centuries.html NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets. NOTE TO POETS: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to email@example.com. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here. CODEC News:Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 13 Responses Allegra Silberstein January 22, 2022 Thank you, Olga, your translations are beautiful. What a great talent you have…Allegra Reply Olga January 22, 2022 Thank you! Reply Cynthia Erlandson January 22, 2022 Beautiful! Reply Olga January 22, 2022 Thank you! Reply Anna J Arredondo January 22, 2022 Thank you for your translations, Olga. I really enjoyed the imagery and sentiment in each of the poems, especially the last four lines of The Albatross. I have been curious, where does one look to find poems to translate (in my specific case, in Spanish)? Is it okay if they have been translated by others before? Reply Olga January 22, 2022 Dear Anna, I just choose poems I like. I think it’s interesting to compare different translations, but when you’re working on a poem, I never look at other versions. Reply David Watt January 24, 2022 Thanks Olga for choosing to translate these beautiful poems. I particularly enjoyed the easy progression of “To Tchaikovsky”. Reply Olga January 24, 2022 David, thank you for your kind words! Reply Margaret Coats January 24, 2022 I especially like Apukhtin’s poem to Tchaikovsky, with so many images from music. I wonder what the poet meant by not wishing to be marked with a natural sign–but I suppose he wanted to be sharp rather than flat, as he did not like his “dull and bland” life, when his friendship with Tchaikovsky was no longer helping his talent flourish. Good choice of an intriguing poem to translate. Reply Olga January 24, 2022 Dear Margaret, Thank you for your interest! As far as I know, the natural sign in music is the one canceling the previous flats and sharps. I think the poet meant “don’t erase me from your memory”. Whatever “sharps” and “flats” we had in our relationship, remember me. I think, the deeper is the poem, the more interpretations it evokes! Reply Connie Blair January 25, 2022 Olga, Your talent is amazing. Thank you for sharing your beautiful gift. Reply Olga January 25, 2022 Dear Connie, You are always encouraging me; I’m so grateful! Reply Sasha A. Palmer February 1, 2022 Olga, I’ve enjoyed your translations so much! Congratulations, and thank you for the read. Reply Leave a Reply to Olga Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Δ This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.