In Petrovsky Park
Vladislav Khodasevich (trans. by Len Krisak)

In Petrovsky Park


He hung but wasn’t swinging
By a belt’s thin strand.
His hat had fallen off.
It lay black on the sand.
His nails had gouged into

The palm of each clenched hand.

Meanwhile, the sun was rising.
Toward noon, it made its run.
With eyes that were un-shut
Before that risen sun,
A man was raised up high
An elevated one.

His eyes were looking east,
And they were keen, keen, keen.
Below him, they were hushed,
Who’d chosen to convene.
And that thin strand of belt
Almost couldn’t be seen.



Висел он, не качаясь,
На узком ремешке.
Свалившаяся шляпа
Чернела на песке.
В ладо нь впивались ногти
На стиснутой руке.

А солнце восходило,
Стремя к полудню бег,
И, перед этим солнцем
Не опуская век,
Был высоко приподнят
На воздух человек.

И зорко, зорко, зорко
Смотрел он на восток.
Внизу столпились люди
В притихнувший кружок.
И был почти невидим
Тот узкий ремешок.





Len Krisak‘s three most recent books are Afterimage (Measure Press), The Carmina of Catullus (Carcanet Press), and Rilke’s New Poems (Boydell & Brewer). With work in the Hudson, Sewanee, PN, Antioch, and Southwest Reviews, he is the recipient of the Richard Wilbur and Robert Frost Prizes, and a four-time champion on Jeopardy!

Vladislav Khodasevich (1886-1939) was a Russian emigre poet and critic working primarily in Berlin. Not aligned with any particular school, he greatly admired Pushkin’s verse and was highly thought of in turn by Nabokov. He was married to the Russian poet Nina Berberova (1901-1993).