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Bella Akhmadulina

Bella Akhmadulina



To V. Vysotsky
Oh, this death – not of mine – is a credit and loss
for my life, always pushing a wall with its brow.
But aft Theater’s lamps had been lighted in halls 
and extinguished – is Tragedy entering now. 
Isn’t it late to run back into wings of the scene?
I’ll not! I’ll hide my head in the velvet slot better.
Is it truly their fault, that in doomed freaks is seen, –
“to dissolve self in general frame of the matter?”
To survive! This play’s script is so immense and sad. 
I can’t wake up a word or a gesture already.
But he’s laughing – our prompter, the holder of fate:
just you say: “I remember. I’m here and ready.”
I am saying that now I’m ready and here.
The voice, helping me, should be quite clear and truthful.
Midst all madness (a mess) of the evil and fear,
only perishing Hamlet has mind strong and useful.
I shall hear their cries: “Is not one truly mad, 
who had loved life, but fully forgot one’s protection?”
Let me, Theater, play all my role till the end
in this freighting pale pit’s magnificent action.

Translated by Yevgeny Bonver, January 9, 2005

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