Friday, 9 November 2012

Velimir Khlebnikov: We want to be familiars of the stars...

We want to be familiars of the stars – we’ve been too distant long enough.
We’ve found the fun of acting tough.
Be big, be bold, be like Baklanov,
or Platov, or Ostranitsa – stop bending over backward
before Mohammedan majesty!
Let politicians sputter – spit in their eye!
Be like Morozhenko – stand and testify!
Sviatoslav shall be our model:
“Here I come!” he cried
to his enemies. You northern lions,
give us back our tarnished pride.
See Yermak, see Osliablia,
our ancestors follow us – see!
Flutter, flutter, Russian banner,
lead us over land and sea!
Restore our fathers’ spirit
to this dreary, doubtful land.
Be bad as big Vladimir
or Dobrynia’s fighting band.

Translated by Paul Schmidt 
(Khlebnikov, Velimir. Collected Works, 3 vols. Trans. Paul Schmidt. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press, 1987.)

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