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Andrei Voznesensky Poems
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THE PARABOLIC BALLAD by Andrei Voznesensky
My life, like a rocket, makes a parabola
flying in darkness, -- no rainbow for traveler.

There once lived an artist, red-haired Gauguin,
he was a bohemian, a former tradesman.
To get to the Louvre
from the lanes of Montmartre
he circled around
as far as Sumatra!

He had to abandon the madness of money,
the filth of the scholars, the snarl of his honey.
The man overcame the terrestrial gravity,
The priests, drinking beer, would laugh at his "vanity":
"A straight line is short, but it is much too simple,
He'd better depict beds of roses for people."

And yet, like a rocket, he flew off with ease
through winds penetrating his coat and his ears.
He didn't fetch up to the Louvre through the door
but, like a parabola,
pierced the floor!

Each gets to the truth with his own parameter
a worm finds a crack, man makes a parabola.

There once lived a girl in the neighboring house.
We studied together, through books we would browse.
Why did I leave,
moved by devilish powers
amidst the equivocal
Georgian stars!

I'm sorry for making that silly parabola,
The shivering shoulders in darkness, why trouble her?...
Your rings in the dark Universe were dramatic,
and like an antenna, straight and elastic.

Meanwhile I'm flying
to land here because
I hear your earthly and shivering calls.

It doesn't come easy with a parabola!..
For wiping prediction, tradition, preamble off
Art, History, Love and юesthetics
to take parabolical paths, as it were!

He leaves for Siberia now, on a visit.

It isn't so long as parabola, is it?

© Copyright Alec Vagapov's translation
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