Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Cricket - Arseny Tarkovsky

To tell the truth, I'm kin
          to the house cricket.
I sing a secret song
          above the oven's ash.
For me, one brings
          the water to a fierce boil,
For me, another
          prepares a hearth of gold.

A traveler will recall
          my voice in a distant land,
Even if he's traded
          me for the heat cicada.
I don't know who planed
          my poor violin,
but I know that I'm rich
          as a cicada in songs.

How many Russian consonants
          in my midnight language,
How many sayings
          I place in the bast box
So a child can rummage
          In this box of bast,
In the old oven violin
          with its sole brass string.

You can't really hear me,
          my voice like a clock
Behind a wall, but take heed
          and I'll lead you.
I'll rouse the whole house:
          I'm the night watchman.  Arise!
Your people across the river
          will trumpet their reply.

Arseny Tarkovsky (1907- 1989) Russia
Translated by Philip Metres and Dimitri Psurtsev

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