25 November 2014

A Journey - 6. Aide-Mémoire for Myself / The Journey - 6. A Keepsake for Yourself / Путешествие - 6. С собой на память


A Journey

6. Aide-Mémoire for Myself

For Wolfgang Kasack

Of these works and days what I’ll remember now’s
Cologne belltowers silent on the Sabbath,
а certain quantity of German towns
with sharp-edged roofs, superbly crafted,
loneliness, loneliness, loneliness, one lonesome
day after another lonesome day,
from behind lace curtains tracking the postman,
the letterbox with an ad tucked away,
‘America’ starting to mean ‘homeward’,
news cooing from the BBC dovecote,
and the absence of ocean water
between me and that place where I’m not.

                                    March-August 1984


(Translation © 2014 G.S. Smith)

Translator’s Note: ‘a certain quantity of German towns’ is an allusion to A Certain Quantity of Conversations by the Leningrad poet Aleksandr Vvedensky (1904-41); the scholar Wolfgang Kasack (1927-2003), the dedicatee of Loseff’s poem, was an authority on Vvedensky and other members of the OBERIU group.


The Journey

6. A Keepsake for Yourself

                                    for W. Kasack

What I’ll recollect from these works and days:
the Sunday stillness after the Cologne bells,
a certain number of German cities,
the good quality of peaked roofs,
loneliness, loneliness, loneliness, one
lone day after another lonely day,
looking for the postman from behind the curtains,
the mailbox with a brochure in it,
the transformation of America into the word “home,”
the murmuring of the BBC with the news of the day,
the absence of the ocean between me
and the place where I’m not.

                              March–August 1984

(Translation © Henry Pickford)


Путешествие

6. С собой на память


В. Казаку

Что я вспомню из этих дней и трудов —
с колоколен Кельна воскресную тишь,
некоторое количество немецких городов,
высокое качество остроконечных крыш,
одиночество, одиночество, одиночество, один
день за другим одиноким днем,
наблюдение за почтальоном из-за гардин,
почтовый ящик с рекламой в нем,
превращение Америки в слово «домой»,
воркотню Би-би-си с новостями дня,
отсутствие океана между мной
и местом, где нет меня.

                                                март — август 1984



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