Category Archives: Alexander Pushkin

Poetry Reading: Alexander Pushkin, Confession; W. H. Auden, As I Walked Out One Evening

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By way of celebrating the International Women’s Day, here are recordings I made in English of Alexander Pushkin’s poem, Confession, and of Wystan Hugh Auden, As I Walked Out One Evening. Confession appeared earlier in Russian, recited by Innokenty Smoktunovsky; and for meanings and themes of Auden’s poem, check out these pages: Lavanet.no, Will Green’s blog, and English Department of Southeast University (this one analyses the poem by stanzas).

Russian Winter in Arts: Alexander Pushkin – Devils

Storm-clouds hurtle, storm-clouds hover;
Flying snow is set alight
By the moon whose form they cover;
Blurred the heavens, blurred the night.
On and on our coach advances,
Little bell goes din-din-din…
Round are vast, unknown expanses;
Terror, terror is within.
– Faster, coachman! “Can’t, sir, sorry:
Horses, sir, are nearly dead.
I am blinded, all is blurry,
All snowed up; can’t see ahead.
Sir, I tell you on the level:
We have strayed, we’ve lost the trail.
What can WE do, when a devil
Drives us, whirls us round the vale?
“There, look, there he’s playing, jolly!
Huffing, puffing in my course;
There, you see, into the gully
Pushing the hysteric horse;
Now in front of me his figure
Looms up as a queer mile-mark –
Coming closer, growing bigger,
Sparking, melting in the dark.”
Storm-clouds hurtle, storm-clouds hover;
Flying snow is set alight
By the moon whose form they cover;
Blurred the heavens, blurred the night.
We can’t whirl so any longer!
Suddenly, the bell has ceased,
Horses halted… – Hey, what’s wrong there?
“Who can tell! – a stump? a beast?..”
Blizzard’s raging, blizzard’s crying,
Horses panting, seized by fear;
Far away his shape is flying;
Still in haze the eyeballs glare;
Horses pull us back in motion,
Little bell goes din-din-din…
I behold a strange commotion:
Evil spirits gather in –
Sundry, ugly devils, whirling
In the moonlight’s milky haze:
Swaying, flittering and swirling
Like the leaves in autumn days…
What a crowd! Where are they carried?
What’s the plaintive song I hear?
Is a goblin being buried,
Or a sorceress married there?
Storm-clouds hurtle, storm-clouds hover;
Flying snow is set alight
By the moon whose form they cover;
Blurred the heavens, blurred the night.
Swarms of devils come to rally,
Hurtle in the boundless height;
Howling fills the whitening valley,
Plaintive screeching rends my heart…

Translated by Genia Gurarie

Russian Legacy.com

Russian Winter in Arts: Alexander Pushkin – Winter Road

Through the murk the moon is veering,
Ghost-accompanist of night,
On the melancholy clearings
Pouring melancholy light.
Runs the troika with its dreary
Toneless jangling sleigh-bell on
Over dismal snow’ I’m weary,
Hungry, frozen to the bone.
Coachman in a homely fashion’s
Singing as we flash along;
Now a snatch of mournful passion,
Now a foulmouthed drinking-song.
Not a light shines, not a lonely
Dusky cabin. . . Snow and hush. . .
Streaming past the troika only
Mileposts, striped and motley, rush.
Dismal, dreary. . . But returning
Homewards! And tomorrow, through
Pleasant crackles of the burning
Pine-logs, I shall gaze at you:
Dream, and go on gazing, Nina,
One whole circle of the clock;
Midnight will not come between us,
When we gently turn the lock
On our callers. . . Drowsing maybe,
Coachman’s faded, lost the tune;
Toneless, dreary, goes the sleigh-bell;
Nina, clouds blot out the moon.

Russian Legacy.com

Russian Winter in Arts: Alexander Pushkin – Winter Evening

Storm has set the heavens scowling,
Whirling gusty blizzards wild,
Now they are like beasts a-growling,
Now a-wailing like a child;


Now along the brittle thatches
They will scud with rustling sound,
Now against the window latches
Like belated wanderers pound. 


Our frail hut is glum and sullen,
Dim with twilight and with care.
Why, dear granny, have you fallen
Silent by the window there?


Has the gale’s insistent prodding
Made your drowsing senses numb,
Are you lulled to gentle nodding
By the whirling spindle’s hum?


Let us drink for grief, let’s drown it,
Comrade of my wretched youth,
Where’s the jar? Pour out and down it,
Wine will make us less uncouth.


Sing me of the tomtit hatching
Safe beyond the ocean blue,
Sing about the maiden fetching
Water at the morning dew.


Storm has set the heavens scowling,
Whirling gusty blizzards wild,
Now they sound like beasts a-growling,
Now a-wailing like a child.


Let us drink for grief, let’s drown it,
Comrade of my wretched youth,
Where’s the jar? Pour out and down it,
Wine will make us less uncouth.


Translated by Walter Arndt
Russian Legacy.com

Russian Winter in Arts: Alexander Pushkin – Winter Morning

Cold frost and sunshine: day of wonder!
But you, my friend, are still in slumber –
Wake up, my beauty, time belies:
You dormant eyes, I beg you, broaden
Toward the northerly Aurora,
As though a northern star arise!

Recall last night, the snow was whirling,
Across the sky, the haze was twirling,
The moon, as though a pale dye,
Emerged with yellow through faint clouds.
And there you sat, immersed in doubts,
And now, – just take a look outside:

The snow below the bluish skies,
Like a majestic carpet lies,
And in the light of day it shimmers.
The woods are dusky. Through the frost
The greenish fir-trees are exposed;
And under ice, a river glitters.

The room is lit with amber light.
And bursting, popping in delight
Hot stove still rattles in a fray.
While it is nice to hear its clatter,
Perhaps, we should command to saddle
A fervent mare into the sleight?

And sliding on the morning snow
Dear friend, we’ll let our worries go,
And with the zealous mare we’ll flee.
We’ll visit empty ranges, thence,
The woods, which used to be so dense
And then the shore, so dear to me.

Russian Legacy.com