Олег Ладыженский

translate by Andrey Burago


Be quiet, Maria, calm down, Maria,
It’s not for us: Cairo, Crimea,

There is no shelter for us anywhere.
They massacre innocents on this square.

I’m frail and old, you’re my heart’s desire —
With you at my side, who needs a messiah?

But if you insist, let us buy the tickets.
It’s hot and humid, this summer’s theme is

Love and perdition, terror and beaches,
We live all inclusive, we fly to Egypt,

The seats are roomy, they’re serving coffee.
Look down, can you see it? It is Golgotha.

A star has fallen…

A star has fallen. Make a wish, be quick
It now has forty seconds to impact.
Wish one more day of life for this grandpa,
Ask it to spare a woman or a kid.
You can’t be late, wish promptly, on my mark,
Get moving, hurry up, don’t bite your lip,
Quit sighing, man, and furrowing your brow…
That’s it. Your time is up. Stop wishing now.

When poets perish

When poets perish, fallen in a fight,
Not poets, soldiers have been killed in action.
Behold the lifeless face, unshaved and ashen.
His verse is timeless, but the man has died.

When a musician’s wounded by a blast,
Then medics rush to save a sergeant major
And all my feelings go out to the injured.
As for the fugue, at length it won’t be lost.

Art is eternal. Music saves the soul.
This poem has a vast and splendid future.
I wish I knew the reason why this all
Brings little comfort, and all words are futile.

Sir Lancelot, you slay the dragon…

— Sir Lancelot, you slay the dragon
To no avail.
His ridge is forged of iron, rugged
From neck to tail.
His breath is burning brick and granite.
Blaze in his belly,
They say he grows out of the ground
When he is buried.

— He sprouts as deeds, corrupt and lawless,
He brings nightmares?
Back as a dragon, same as always?
Yes, I’m aware.
Yet I as well, dumped in a grave,
And left to rot,
Through mud and grime will rise again,
As Lancelot.

Андрей Бураго родился и вырос в Санкт-Петербурге. Окончил математико-механический факультет СПбГУ. В 1991 году переехал в США. Сейчас живет в Сиэтле и работает программистом.

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