Archive for Yuri Iofe

I’m in Tbilisi

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on April 25, 2013 by mikhailych

I’m in Tbilisi

-Yuri Iofe

All damned poets,

Will be able to understand this.

I wander about Tbilisi,

Back and forth,

And gnaw on impressions,

As a dog would on scraps,

And pick subjects,

With readied rhymes.

Everything is strange and new to me,

Incomprehensible and wild,

Even the Eastern sky,

The color of indigo paint,

Blind alleys,

In blinding light,

As winding as letters,

In a Georgian newspaper.

Here, the law is irrelevant,

A European mask!

Now night is falling,

Like an Arabian fairy tale.

And I observe it all,

From bottom to top,

Delirious with rhyme,

I wander about Tbilisi.

In this madness,

All life is crumpled.

But this is something,

That all damn poets will be able to understand.

Tbilisi, 1960

Translated by me.



Atlantis rots on the ocean floor…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 19, 2008 by mikhailych

Atlantis rots on the ocean floor,
The sea grows dense with silt,
Glorious Rome blazed in the fires,
Its grey ashes scattered over the earth.

Everything has its time,
Everything falls to pieces.
Yet, a new prophet appears,
Promising renewed happiness.

Moscow, Summer 1951

-Yuri Iofe (Translated by me)

In the Alexander Nevsky Monastery

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2008 by mikhailych

In the Alexander Nevsky Monastery

The ghost of the sun sparsely illuminates,
The clouds and the monastery cupola.

The afternoon is muted, and it is infinitely sad,
To pass through the necropolis of art.

You, behold! Forgetting the vile malice,
Of the stone symphony of gravestones.

Except that symphony is silent,
Nothing escaped with immortality.

Summer 1952, Leningrad

-Yuri Iofe (Translated by me)

For a Thousand Versts

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on June 11, 2008 by mikhailych

For a Thousand Versts
By Yuri Iofe

For a thousand versts, for a thousand miles,
Around me – a black-grey world.
Within it no sun, no moon, no stars.
For a thousand miles, for a thousand versts.

January 23, 1985

Translated by me.

Muscovite Noir

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on June 10, 2008 by mikhailych

A Little After Three in the Morning
By Yuri Iofe

In the restaurants, it is already dark and resonant.
A little after three in the morning. The remaining drunks,
Are taxied to their homes.
And the night fog swallows them.
And in the very same manner as the dinner scraps are,
Swept away in the kitchen by a degraded lackey,
The militiamen sweep away the timeworn prostitutes,
From the deserted squares.
Where to go? The way has been forgotten.
It is a little after three in morning and everything is dead,
Except for a single car, spraying water from beneath its wheels,
Speeding off from the Kremlin to Lyubyanka.


Moscow, 1956

Translated by me.

Moonshine in the Wagon with Me

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on June 7, 2008 by mikhailych

A short piece by Yuri Iofe:

In the wagon – me.
Moonshine in the wagon with me.

Written before 1940
As always, translated by me.

The original:
В вагоне я.
В вагоне самогон и я.

So hopefully I captured the feel and essence of the Russian. I realize “In the wagon – me” is kind of lame, if not outright bad. That said I’m bored and this kept me entertained for 45 minutes. Tomorrow I’ll stop playing around and do something of some actual substance.