Thursday, February 5, 2009

Things Russian

A bit of a Russian post today. At the moment I’m rereading ‘We the Living’ by Ayn (rhymes with mine) Rand. I recommend it. I haven’t read ‘The Fountainhead’ yet.

This is a postcard illustrating part of the poem ‘The Demon’ by a Russian poet, Michael Lermontov. I was struck by the movement of the painting by
Mikhail Aleksandrovich Vrubel. The unused postcard is Russian, from the Tretyakov State Gallery, Moscow dated 1965. How did it get to France? Someone had collected several cards of paintings by Vrubel and one or two other artists. The Vrubel cards were the only ones translated into Western European languages. I found the part of the poem the painting represents quite easily:

“Two figures - then a shot - ahead
What was it? Rising in his stirrups
Cramming his high hat on his brow
The gallant lover, at the gallop,
Plunged like a hawk upon his foe!
No word he spoke, his whip cracked once
And once blazed forth his Turkish gun....
Another shot. Wild cries. The Prince
Goes thundering on. The groans behind
Long echoes in the valley find....
Not long the fight. Of timorous mind,
The Georgians turn and run!”

Here is the complete poem if you’ve got a few minutes to spare (You'll have to scroll down a bit).

There is still a packet of Russian soup in the cupboard – perhaps not…


Donna said...

I've never "read" I like your Other blog sweetie! Happy weekend!!hughugs

alan said...

A few years ago I read all of Akhmatova's and Tsvetaeva's works in translation, then picked up a dictionary and started trying to "sound them out" in the original languages to try and "hear" what they might sound like. While I can now recognize some words in Russian, it didn't really get any further I'm sorry to say.

My last Ayn Rand was "Atlas Shrugged" in high school. Though I don't remember much of it, the parts I do remind me of now!


Anji said...

donna: It's amazing what you learn when you're blogging!

Alan: I couldn't read Anna karenina because I couldn't sort the characters out because of their names.

I'm amazed that Ayn Rand was so accepted and respected in the States. She even got a mention in an episode of the Simpsons!

Dru Marland said...

I started drawing family trees to try and keep up with the characters in War and Peace, but then I just gave up anyway. Lightweight.
Perhaps that poem loses in the translation; it takes a poet to translate a poet, I recall someone saying, and I know what they mean... it reminds me a bit of that "He Fell Among Thieves" poem, which has got the immortal line "he threy his empty revolver down the slope".
Unless it was another poem.

Anji said...

Dru: I'll try that next time. I agree, now that my French has the benefit of 24 years experience, I'd much rather not translate. (well, I know what I'm trying to say)