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Bulat Okudjava

Bulat Okudjava

BULAT OKUDJAVA: "The Poets Were Hunted..."

"The Poets Were Hunted..."

The poets were hunted and snared
at word, or with crafty nets caught,
to black sass, lost cut their wings, airy,
it happened, and led to be shot…

From, maybe, first days of creation,
from grayest and oldest of old,
they are, as scrape-goats of nations,
In tablets of ages enrolled. 

Regarded, but also warded, -
acknowledged, but not for all times…
Your life is with poets divided,
But did you like them even once?

In their full of tragedy countries
they sometimes could feasts contemplate,
but their hard ordeal with defiance,
you’d never from them separate.

They were fanned with dust of high roads,
but all their hard sufferings through,
they always were seemed blue – the poets – 
and looked at horizons their blue.

A newborn word’s heavenly sweetness
was higher for them then a rage.
But festivals – they’re only weakness, 
transitory for a bard-sage.

I don’t sing the hymns to the poets.
I’m happy that they do exist.
Oh, how, I think, they mock toasts,
Drunk to them on funeral feasts.


Translated by Yevgeny Bonver, August, 2002


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