Monday, January 10, 2011

Aimless Reading: The M's, Part 12 (Osip Mandelshtam)


Selected Poems
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Mandelshtam, Osip
Selected Poems


Purchased at the late lamented Niagara Falls Outlet Mall Discount Bookstore. $3.

While I like the translations in this book -- in fact, rewrote one of them as a section of a poem in my last book -- this is one of the most absurdly unbalanced books I'v ever encountered. It is a slim volume-- only about 80 pages of Mandelshtam's poems are included, yet nearly half the book is taken up with critical extras. There are two forwards, a translator's preface, and a long introduction to the poet's life and work. Is all this really necessary? Can't we just read the poems?

Anyhow, here's the one I stole from:

The careful muffled sound
Of a fruit breaking loose from a tree
In the middle of the continual singing
Of deep forest silence...


My version, which became a section of a poem called "Pie in the Sky"

1.

That reckless
Silence
The falling

Fruit
Bears
Between

Snapped branch
And black earth
Singing.

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