Joseph Brodsky: Butterfly


Should I pronounce you dead?
Thank Him: You've seen a rise of 
the sun. Gifts so derisive
evoke regret:
I barely can infer
“you've lived.” Your dates: of birth, and
of turning into earth at
my hands, concur,
which makes me hesitate
subtracting out
the earlier amount
within one day.   
II
Because a day for us
is nothing, innit?
The void. One cannot pin it
and make for eyes
their diet: Days, afar
on white background,
and having neither bound 
nor substance, are
invisible.  Aren't they
like you? Or rather,
you are, reduced a dozen 
of times, one day.   
III 
I'd say, there is no you
at all, but what is
this silky-feeling goddess
like you? - And hue
is not the void's ally!
What could inspire
such wonder-paint applier?
Unlikely, I, 
a muttering disease 
so color-meager, 
could have imagined figures
and tints like these. 

IV
Your little wings display
eye-pupils, lashes.
Whose faces do these splashes
of dye portray:
a beauty girl's, a bird's?
Or, maybe, neither, 
and on your flitting easel,
a Nature Morte
is painted: lettuce heads, 
or beans of coffee,
and even – look! –  a trophy
of fishing spreads. 
V
Perhaps, armed with a lens,
I would discover
a landscape: beaches, towers, 
a group of friends.
Is it as dark as night?
or day-like shiny?
And in the world so tiny,
which astral lights
adorn the sky? Disclose
to us, what's printed   
on it, and give a hint what 
the model was.
VI
I think, there coexist
and this, and those: 
in you, a face, a rose,
a star persist.
Where is that artist-mage
who did not falter
to turn your elfin altar
a world-like stage,
the world that makes us fuss,  
loose reason, shatter,
where you're a thought of matter,
the latter's us.
VII
Could you explain, what for 
such guise was given
to you for less than even 
a day, on shores
of lakes whose glossy look 
reflects the vastness
of space? And you – this hastiness
 steals your luck
to gratify,
let chasing, catching linger,
thrill in one's fingers,
allure the eye.
VIII
You won't respond, but for
another reason
than dither. Nor there is an 
ill will. Still, nor
your death is your excuse.  
  All living creatures,
among their common features,
their kinship clues,
are granted voice for, say,
conversing, singing,
 rehearsing and rethinking
a wink, a day.
IX
And you – you are devoid
of said endowment.
But less is good, - avow it! - 
for, what's the point
to be a pet of fate,
an aim of envy?
So, don't lament yourself if 
your wit, your weight
are worth of this taboo.
Voice burdens, trust me.
More aerial than dust, be
more silent, too.
X
Perception-free – alas,
of terrors spared,
you flutter in the air
above the grass
beyond these prison-like,
twice tears half laughter,
the former and hereafter,
and this is why
when you are searching for
your proper nurture
the very space, by virtue 
of this, reforms.  
XI
So does a poet's pen
that lonely slithers
along the notepad, neither 
aware of when 
nor what awaits its script,
where moonshine, wisdom
are mixed, but irresisting 
that pulsing grip,
whose voiceless jolts compel
rejoicing, grieving,
not buds – of dust relieving, 
but chest – of spells. 
XII
So brief a tenure term
and looks so pretty,
combined in an unwitting
surmise, affirm
that what this world is for,  
to say succinctly: 
the Maker has no inkling,
and what is more, 
the purpose isn't us.
My friend bug-lover,
in truth, light doesn't hover,
nor darkness does.
XIII
So, will you do as well
with my “Farewell” as
all days do? There are fellas
whose storage well
went Lethean. But look,
their sin is minor:
 for there behind them fly nor
their fortune's flukes,
nor dates with beds for two,
nor dreams amorphous,
nor memories -- but swarms of
your siblings do!
XIV
You're better than the Void.
Or rather, nearer.
Yet from within, I fear, 
you're its envoy,
its next of kin, its kind.
In your brief instance,
it has achieved existence;
and that is why,
all daily stir amid,
you're worth regarding
as something gently guarding
my self from it. 


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Comments

Anonymous said…
Awesome!
Anonymous said…
It's a wonderful translation, can i know who is the translator?

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