26 August 2015

Historian and educator Vladimir Gerasimov has died in Saint Petersburg / В Петербурге умер историк и педагог Владимир Герасимов

Vladimir Gerasimov /  Владимир Герасимов 1935-2015
(Photo Lev Loseff)

Nina Mokhova-Loseff, Vladimir Gerasimov, Natasha Sharymova, Lev Loseff

(Photo Lev Loseff)

(Photo Lev Loseff)

Gerasimov and Brodsky
(Photo Lev Loseff)

Gerasimov and Brodsky
(Photo Lev Loseff)

Gerasimov and Loseff

Yuz Aleshkovsky, Gerasimov and Brodsky
(Photo Lev Loseff)

15 August 2015

Gutta-Percha / Гуттаперча

The Gutta-Percha Boy, 1928 edition


I’ve had it with all of this irony shit!
Let’s get back to the books from when I was a kid!
It squeezes my rubber-ball heart, when,
gutta-percha boy, time comes for parting.

‘Brownie’, ‘Blind Music-Man’, ‘Tiny Phil’—what?
Who was it wrote them—Tolstoy, or did God?
The Giver of Good, or Chekhov?
Some nuts for the monkey, I reckon—

he can pick them all up in his miniature paw,
and pop them with care in his miniature maw.
Our eyeballs are suddenly burning—
no use, the tears will come bursting.

For the sweetest of weeping who cares what reproach?
We still pity the hare and the wolf and the fox.
But bogeyman tempests are over,
gutta-percha is gone for ever.

[From Sisyphus Redux, 2000]

(Translation © G.S. Smith 2015)

The Gutta-Percha Boy is a story for children (1883) by D.V.Grigorovich (1822-1900), about an orphan who is trained as a circus acrobat and comes to a tragic end; it was made into what became a classic Soviet film in 1957.
‘Brownie’ (Каштанка) is a story by Chekhov named for the mongrel who is its hero, ‘The Blind Music-Man’ (Слепой Музыкант) is a novel by Vladimir Korolenko, and ‘Tiny Phil’ (Филиппок) is a story for children by Tolstoy.


Как осточертела ирония, блядь;
ax, снова бы детские книжки читать!
Сжимается сердце, как мячик,
прощай, гуттаперчевый мальчик.

“Каштанка”, “Слепой музыкант”, “Филиппок” —
кто их сочинитель — Толстой или Бог?
Податель Добра или Чехов?
Дадим обезьянке орехов!

Пусть крошечной ручкой она их берет,
кладет осторожно в свой крошечный рот.
Вдруг станет заглазье горячим,
не выдержим мы и заплачем.

Пусть нас попрекают сладчайшей слезой,
но зайчика жалко и волка с лисой.
Промчались враждебные смерчи,
и нету нигде гуттаперчи.