REQUIEM

 



 
 
Waiting For SN
 
 
REQUIEM 
 
No, No, not under the vault of alien skies,
And not under the shelter of alien wings —
I was with my people then,
There, where my people, unfortunately, were. 
 
INSTEAD OF A PREFACE 
 
In the terrible years of the Yezhov terror, I spent seventeen months in the prison lines of Leningrad. Once, someone "recognized” me. Then a woman with bluish lips standing behind me, who, of course, had never heard me called by name before, woke up from the stupor to which everyone had succumbed and whispered in my ear (everyone spoke in whispers there):
"Can you describe this?"
And I answered: "Yes, I can."
Then something that looked like a smile passed over what had once been her face.
April 1, 1957
Leningrad
Trans. Judith
 
pp. 131-151 
 
REQUIEM 
 
According to Lydia Chukovskaya, Requiem was memorized by people whom Akhmatova trusted, ten in all. The manuscripts as a rule were burned. Only in 1962 did Akhmatova give “Requiem” to the journal “Novy Mir”, but they rejected it. By this time “samizdat” (underground) copies were circulating widely. One of the copies made its way abroad and was published in Munich, 1963.
Instead of a Preface
Nadezhda Mandelstam writes, in “Hope Abandoned”, that "Stalin's Great Purge reached its height under the direction of Nikolay Yezhov (1894-1939), chief of the NKVD [the secret police] from 1936-38. He was then made the scapegoat for its 'excesses.' He was succeeded by Beria in 1938, and was probably executed in 1939, although there has never been any official information about his fate."
Akhmatova’s son Lev Gumilyov was first arrested in 1933 on trumped-up charges but was released nine days later. In October 1935 he was arrested again along with Punin. After Akhmatova wrote a letter to Stalin, they were both released in November 1935. Lev was arrested again in March 1938 and sentenced to ten years in the camps. The case was reviewed, and the sentence was changed to five years. He was released during World War II to fight against the Germans released only in 1956 under a general amnesty following Stalin’s death.
In 1975, he was "rehabilitated" and declared innocent. Punin was also arrested in 1949 and sent to a Siberian camp, where he died in 1953.
Akhmatova, whose son was in prison, waited in line with others hoping to learn something about the fate of their relatives.
[Judith]
 
****
 
REQUIEM 
 
No, it wasn't under a foreign heaven,
It wasn't under the wing of a foreign power, —
I was there among my countrymen,
I was where my people, unfortunately, were.
1961 
 
INSTEAD OF A PREFACE 
 
In the awful years of Yezhovian horror, I spent seventeen months standing in line in front of various prisons in Leningrad. One day someone “recognized" me. Then a woman with blue lips, who was standing behind me, and who, of course, had never heard my name, came out of the stupor which typified all of us, and whispered into my ear (everyone there spoke only in whispers):
—Can you describe this?
And I said:
—I can.
Then something like a fleeting smile passed over what
once had been her face.
April 1, 1957
Leningrad
N. I. Yezhov: head of the NKVD, the Soviet Secret Police from 1936 to 1938, was noted for his ferocity. He presided over the great purges, and the period of 1936-1938 is therefore known as
"Yezhovshchina." 
 
Trans. Lyn Coffin 
 
***
 
REQUIEM 
 
 
No, not under a foreign heavenly-cope, and
Not canopied by foreign wings —
I was with my people in those hours,
There where, unhappily, my people were.
In the fearful years of the Yezhov terror I spent seventeen months in prison queues in Leningrad. One day somebody “identified' me. Beside me, in the queue, there was a woman with blue lips. She had, of course, never heard of me; but she suddenly came out of that trance so common to us all and whispered in my ear (everybody spoke in whispers there): Can you describe this?' And I said: 'Yes, I can.' And then something like the shadow of a smile crossed what had once been her face.
I April 1957, Leningrad
Trans. D.M. Thomas
“Requiem”
This great work, grieving for her son and all Russia, was preserved by memory alone. It was not published until 1965, in Munich, 'without the author's knowledge or permission'.
[D.M. Thomas]
 
 
 
DEDICATION 
 
Mountains bow down to this grief,
Mighty rivers cease to flow,
But the prison gates hold firm,
And behind them are the "prisoners' burrows"
And mortal woe.
For someone a fresh breeze blows,
For someone the sunset luxuriates —
We wouldn’t know, we are those who everywhere
Hear only the rasp of the hateful key
And the soldiers' heavy tread.
We rose as if for an early service,
Trudged through the savaged capital
And met there, more lifeless than the dead;
The sun is lower and the Neva mistier,
But hope keeps singing from afar.
The verdict ... And her tears gush forth,
Already she is cut off from the rest,
As if they painfully wrenched life from her heart,
As if they brutally knocked her flat,
But she goes on ... Staggering ... Alone ...
Where now are my chance friends
Of those two diabolical years?
What do they imagine is in Siberia's storms,
What appears to them dimly in the circle of the moon?
I am sending my farewell greeting to them.
March 1940
“Dedication”
Line 4, "prisoners' burrows" – from Pushkin’s poem, “Message to Siberia”
[Trans. Judith]
 
****
 
DEDICATION 
 
Faced with this grief, mountains sink down,
The great river has to languish,
But the hasps of the prison are made of iron,
And behind them the "concentration den"
And deadly anguish.
Cool winds are stroking someone’s hair,
And the sun is shining on someone's head—
We don’t know, we're the same everywhere,
The gnashing of keys is all we hear
And the soldiers' booted tread.
We get up as if there were priests to assist,
We cross the rebrutalized city squares,
More breathless than the dead, we come to the tryst,
The sun is lower and the Neva’s all mist,
And far off, the song of hoping flares.
Sentence. . . And at once the tears will start,
How different from the others one's already grown,
It's as if they took the life out of the heart,
Like being thrown backwards on a jolting cart,
. . . She's coming. . . Staggering. . . Alone. . .
Where now are all the chance-met people,
Friends during those two years in hell?
Of which Siberian storms are they full?
What phantoms do they see in the lunar circle?
It's to them I am sending this farewell.
1940
Trans. Lyn Coffin
 
****
 
DEDICATION 
 
 
The mountains bow before this anguish,
The great river does not flow.
In mortal sadness the convicts languish.
The bolts stay frozen. There's someone who
Still feels the sunset's glow,
Someone who can still distinguish
Day from night, for whom the fresh
Wind blows. But we don't know it, we're obsessive,
We only hear the tramp of boots, abrasive
Keys scraping against our flesh.
Rising as though for early mass,
Through the capital of beasts we'd thread.
Met, more breathless than the dead,
Mistier Neva, lower sun. Ahead,
Hope was still singing, endlessly evasive.
The sentence! and now at last tears flood.
She'd thought the months before were loneliness!
She's thrown down like a rock.
The heart gives up its blood.
Yet goes ... swaying... she can still walk.
My friends of those two years I stood
In hell — oh all my chance friends lost
Beyond the circle of the moon, I cry
Into the blizzards of the permafrost:
Goodbye. Goodbye.
Trans. D.M. Thomas

 

 

 

         PROLOGUE

 That was when the ones who smiled

Were the dead, glad to be at rest.

And like a useless appendage, Leningrad

Swung from its prisons.

And when, senseless from torment,

Regiments of convicts marched,

And the short songs of farewell

Were sung by locomotive whistles.

The stars of death stood above us

And innocent Russia writhed

Under bloody boots

And under the tires of the Black Marias.

 

 

 

 I

 

They led you away at dawn,

I followed you, like a mourner,

In the dark front room the children were crying,

By the icon shelf the candle was dying.

On your lips was the icon's chill.

The deathly sweat on your brow ... Unforgettable! —

I will be like the wives of the Streltsy,

Howling under the Kremlin towers.

 

1935

Moscow

Trans. Judith 

 

 

II

 

Quietly flows the quiet Don,

Yellow moon slips into a home.

 

He slips in with cap askew,

He sees a shadow, yellow moon.

 

This woman is ill,

This woman is alone,

 

Husband in the grave, son in prison,

Say a prayer for me.

 

 

 

        III

 

No, it is not I, it is somebody else who is suffering.

I would not have been able to bear what happened,

Let them shroud it in black,

And let them carry off the lanterns ...

                 Night.

 

1940

 


 





 

 

         IV

 

You should have been shown, you mocker,

Minion of all your friends,

Gay little sinner of Tsarskoye Selo,

What would happen in your life —

How three-hundredth in line, with a parcel,

You would stand by the Kresty prison,

Your fiery tears

Burning through the New Year's ice.

Over there the prison poplar bends,

And there’s no sound — and over there how many

Innocent lives are ending now ...

 

 

        V

 

For seventeen months I've been crying out,

Calling you home.

I flung myself at the hangman's feet,

You are my son and my horror.

Everything is confused forever,

And it’s not clear to me

Who is a beast now, who is a man,

And how long before the execution.

And there are only dusty flowers,

And the chinking of the censer, and tracks

From somewhere to nowhere.

And staring me straight in the eyes,

And threatening impending death,

Is an enormous star.

 

1939  

 

 

VI

The light weeks will take flight,
I won't comprehend   what  happened.
Just as the white nights
Stared at you, dear son, in prison,
So they are staring again,
With  the burning eyes of a hawk,
Talking about your lofty cross,
And about  death.

Spring 1939


        VII 


THE SENTENCE


And the stone word  fell
On  my  still-living breast.
Never  mind, I was ready.
I will manage somehow.

Today  I have so much to do:
I must kill memory once  and for all,
I must turn  my soul to stone,
I must learn to live again —

Unless  ... Summer's ardent rustling
Is like a festival outside my window.
For a long time I've foreseen this
Brilliant day, deserted house.

June 22, 1939
Fountain House

 

 

 VIII

TO DEATH

 

 

 You will come in any case — so why not now?

 I am waiting for you — I can't stand much more.

I've put out the light and opened the door

For you, so simple and miraculous.

So come in any form you please,

Burst in as a gas shell

Or, like a gangster, steal in with a length of pipe,

Or poison me with typhus fumes.

Or be that fairy tale you've dreamed up,

So sickeningly familiar to everyone —

In which I glimpse the top of a pale blue cap

And the house attendant white with fear.

Now it doesn't matter anymore. The Yenisey swirls,

The North Star shines.

And the final horror dims

The blue luster of beloved eyes.

 

August 19, 1939

Fountain House  

 

 

 

        IX

 

Now madness half shadows

My soul with its wing,

And makes it drunk with fiery wine

And beckons toward the black ravine.

 

And I've finally realized

That I must give in,

Overhearing myself

Raving as if it were somebody else.

 

And it does not allow me to take

Anything of mine with me

(No matter how I plead with it,

No matter how I supplicate):

 

Not the terrible eyes of my son —

Suffering turned to stone,

Not the day of the terror,

Not the hour I met with him in prison,

 

Not the sweet coolness of his hands,

Not the trembling shadow of the lindens,

Not the far-off, fragile sound —

Of the final words of consolation.

 

May 4, 1940

Fountain House  

 

 

 

         X

 

    CRUCIFIXION

 

                "Do not weep for Me, Mother,

                I am in the grave."

 

 

 

A choir of angels sang the praises of that momentous hour,

And the heavens dissolved in fire.

To his Father He said: "Why hast Thou forsaken me!"

And to his Mother: "Oh,  do not weep for  Me ... "

 

1940

Fountain House

 

 

 

 

 

    2

 

Mary Magdalene beat her breast and  sobbed,

The beloved disciple turned to stone,

But where the silent Mother stood, there

No one glanced and no   one would have dared.

 

1943

Tashkent  

 

 

 

                           EPILOGUE   I

 

 

                   I learned how faces fall,

                   How terror darts from under eyelids,

                   How suffering traces lines

                   Of stiff cuneiform on cheeks,

                   How locks of ashen-blonde or black

                   Turn silver suddenly,

                   Smiles fade on submissive lips

                   And fear trembles in a dry laugh.

                   And I pray not for myself alone,

                   But for all those who stood there with me

                   In cruel cold, and in July's heat,

                   At that blind, red wall.

 

 

 

                           EPILOGUE II

 

 

Once more the day of remembrance draws near.

I see, I hear, I feel you:

 

The one they almost had to drag to the window,

And the one who tramps her native land no more,

 

And the one who, tossing her beautiful head,

Said: "Coming here’s like coming home?'

 

I'd like to name them all by name,

But the list has been confiscated and is nowhere to be found.

 

I have woven a wide mantle for them

From their meager, overheard words.

 

I will remember them always and everywhere,

I will never forget them no matter what comes.

 

And if they gag my exhausted mouth

Through which a  hundred million scream,

 

Then may the people   remember me

On the eve of my remembrance   day.

 

And if ever in this country

They decide to erect a monument to me,

 

I consent to that honor

Under these conditions — that it stand

 

Neither by the sea, where I was born:

My last tie with the sea is broken,

 

Nor in the tsar's garden near the cherished pine stump,

Where an inconsolable shade looks for me,

 

But here, where I stood for three hundred hours,

And where they never unbolted the doors for me.

 

This, lest in blissful death

I forget the rumbling of the Black Marias,

 

Forget how that detested door slammed shut

And an old woman   howled like a wounded animal.

 

And may the melting snow stream like tears

From my motionless lids of bronze,

 

And a prison dove coo in the distance,

And the ships of the Neva sail calmly on.

 

March 1940

 

 

Bản tiếng Việt

 


 August 8, 2022

 

Bữa nay, khởi sự post bản tiếng VIệt. Sẽ dùng bản tiếng Anh của Judith, là chính, mấy bản khác coi như phụ.
Ngoài ra, còn viện tới Bác Gúc.
Cảm ơn Bác Gúc!
 
 
REQUIEM 
 
No, not under the vault of alien skies,
And not under the shelter of alien wings —
I was with my people then,
There, where my people, unfortunately, were.
1961
*
INSTEAD OF A PREFACE 
 
In the terrible years of the Yezhov terror, I spent seventeen months in the prison lines of Leningrad. Once, someone "recognized" me. Then a woman with bluish lips standing behind me,
who, of course, had never heard me called by name before, woke up from the stupor to which everyone had succumbed and whispered in my ear (everyone spoke in whispers there):
"Can you describe this?"
And I answered: "Yes, I can."
Then something that looked like a smile passed over what
had once been her face.
April 1, 1957
Leningrad
Anna Akhmatova
Trans. Judith
***
 
 
REQUIEM 
 
 
No, not under a foreign heavenly-cope, and
Not canopied by foreign wings —
I was with my people in those hours,
There where, unhappily, my people were.
In the fearful years of the Yezhov terror I spent seven-
teen months in prison queues in Leningrad. One day
somebody 'identified' me. Beside me, in the queue, there
was a woman with blue lips. She had, of course, never
heard of me; but she suddenly came out of that trance
so common to us all and whispered in my ear (everybody
spoke in whispers there): Van you describe this?' And
I said: 'Yes, I can.' And then something like the shadow
of a smile crossed what had once been her face.
1 April 1957, Leningrad
Trans. D.M. Thomas
 
Kinh Cầu
 
 
"Không, không phải dưới bầu trời xa lạ,
Không phải dưới đôi cánh quyền lực xa lạ, -
Tôi ở đó, giữa đồng bào của tôi
Bất hạnh thay,
Ở."
\
Thay vì lời đề tựa 
 
 
Vào những năm khủng khiếp dười thời Trùm mật vụ Yezhov, tôi trải qua 17 tháng xếp hàng cùng những thân nhân khác, trước nhà tù Leningrad. Một lần, có 1 người "nhận ra" tôi. Một người đàn bà, môi tái nhợt, đứng phía sau, chắc chắn chưa từng nghe nói đến tên tôi trước đó, bất thình lình tách ra khỏi hàng người quá quen thuộc với tất cả chúng tôi, và thì thầm vô tai tôi (mọi người đều nói trong thì thầm như thế):
-Liệu bà có thể diễn tả nó?
Tôi nói:
Tôi có thể
Và rồi thì, có một diều gì, như thể cái bóng của 1 nụ cười, thoáng qua, trên một nơi có thời là khuôn mặt của người đàn bà.


 

Dâng Tặng

 

 

Núi cúi đầu trước nỗi đau

Sông lớn ngưng chảy

Nhưng cửa Hoả Lò vẫn vững như đồng

Và đằng sau nó là những “hang của tù nhân”

Và nỗi thống khổ chết chóc

Với 1 ai đó, 1 ngọn gió mát

Với 1 ai đó chiều tà huy hoàng

Chúng tôi sẽ không biết

Chúng tôi là những kẻ ở khắp mọi nơi

Nghe, chỉ tiếng leng keng của những chiếc chìa khoá đáng ghét

Tiếng giầy bốt nặng nề của đám lính tráng

Chúng tôi thức dậy, như lo việc buổi sáng sớm

Qua đế đô hoang dại,

Gặp ở đó, những cư dân vô hồn, hơn cả những người đã chết

Mặt trời thấp, dòng Hương xấu xí, lù mù

 

Nhưng hy vọng vẫn cất tiếng hát, từ xa, từ phía trước

Bản án, sự phán quyết…

Và bây giờ, sau cùng, giòng lệ chảy

Nàng đã bị cắt đứt ra khỏi phần còn lại

Như thể chúng đã bứt đời sống ra khỏi trái tim nàng

Như thể chúng quất nàng sụm xuống

 

Nhưng nàng vẫn tiếp tục… Ngập ngừng… Cô đơn, một mình….

Ở đâu, lúc này, những bạn bè may rủi của ta

Của hai năm trời địa ngục?

Phép lạ nào họ tưởng tượng,

Trong bão tố Siberia?

Chuyện gì hiển hiện với họ

Trong tuần trăng?

Tôi gửi tới họ, lời chào vĩnh biệt.

 


 



PROLOGUE 
 
 
In those years only the dead smiled,
Glad to be at rest:
And Leningrad city swayed like
A needless appendix to its prisons.
It was then that the railway-yards
Were asylums of the mad;
Short were the locomotives'
Farewell songs.
Stars of death stood
Above us, and innocent Russia
Writhed under bloodstained boots, and
Under the tyres of Black Marias. 
 
1
 
They took you away at daybreak. Half waking, as though at a wake, I followed.
In the dark chamber children were crying,
In the image-case, candlelight guttered.
At your lips, the chill of an ikon,
A deathly sweat at your brow.
I shall go creep to our wailing wall,
Crawl to the Kremlin towers. 
 
 
Gently flows the gentle Don,
Yellow moonlight leaps the sill,
Leaps the sill and stops astonished as it sees the shade
Of a woman lying ill,
Of a woman stretched alone.
Son in irons and husband clay.
Pray. Pray. 
 
 
No, it is not I, it is someone else who is suffering.
I could not have borne it. And this thing which has
happened,
Let them cover it with black cloths,
And take away the lanterns ...
Night.
Anna Akhmatova: Requiem
Translated by D.M. Thomas
Bearing the Burden of Witness:
Requiem
Requiem was born of an event that was personally shattering and at the same time horrifically common: the unjust arrest and threatened death of a loved one. It is thus a work with both a private and a public dimension, a lyric and an epic poem. As befits a lyric poem, it is a first-person work arising from an individual's experiences and perceptions. Yet there is always a recognition, stated or unstated, that while the narrator's sufferings are individual they are anything but unique: as befits an epic poet, she speaks of the experience of a nation.
 
The Word That Causes Death’s Defeat
Cái từ đuổi Thần Chết chạy có cờ
 
Kinh Cầu đẻ ra từ một sự kiện, nỗi đau cá nhân xé ruột xé gan, và cùng lúc, nó lại rất là của chung của cả nước, một cách cực kỳ ghê rợn: cái sự bắt bớ khốn kiếp của nhà nước và cái chết đe dọa người thân thương ruột thịt. Bởi thế mà nó có 1 kích thước vừa rất đỗi riêng tư vừa rất ư mọi người, rất ư công chúng, một bài thơ trữ tình và cùng lúc, sử thi. Nó là tác phẩm của ngôi thứ nhất, thoát ra từ kinh nghiệm, cảm nhận cá nhân. Tuy nhiên, trong lúc chỉ là 1 cá nhân đau đớn rên rỉ như thế, thì nó lại là độc nhất: như sử thi, bài thơ nói lên kinh nghiệm toàn quốc gia….
Đáp ứng, của Akhmatova, khi Nikolai Gumuilyov, chồng bà, 35 tuổi, thi sĩ, nhà ngữ văn, trong danh sách 61 người, bị xử bắn không cần bản án, vì tội âm mưu, phản cách mạng, cho thấy quyết tâm của bà, vinh danh người chết và gìn giữ hồi ức của họ giữa người sống, the determination to honor the dead, and to preserve their memory among the living….
 
Kinh Cầu
 
Mở
 
 
Vào những ngày đó chỉ những người chết mỉm cười
Hài lòng vì được nghỉ ngơi
Và Leningrad đong đưa
Như khúc ruột thừa thừa thãi
Quanh nhà tù của nó
Đó là lúc mà những sân ga
Là nơi tạm trú của những người khùng;
Ngắn gọn, là những bài ca giã từ của những chuyến tầu.
Những ngôi sao của Thần Chết đứng sững
Ở trên đầu chúng ta
Và một nước Nga ngây thơ vô tội
Quằn quại dưới gót giầy máu
Dưới bánh xe Black Marias
 
1
 
Chúng mang anh đi vào lúc rạng đông
Nửa thức nửa ngủ, tôi đi theo
Trong căn phòng tối, mấy đứa trẻ la khóc
Trong lồng, ngọn đèn cầy run rẩy
Và môi anh, lạnh giá như bức tượng
Và mồ hôi chết chóc trên trán
Tôi bò tới bức tường than khóc chúng ta
Bò tới những ngọn tháp Kremlin 
 
2
 
Dòng sông Don lặng lẽ, chậm chạp trôi
Ánh trăng vàng vọt đậu ở nơi bậu cửa
Vượt qua nó
Và chết sững, nhìn cái bóng của người đàn bà bịnh,
Nằm trơ ra, 1 mình, 1 đống
Con trai trong nhà tù, trong song sắt
Chồng trong đất lạnh
Cầu nguyện. Hãy cầu nguyện
 
3
 
Không, không phải tôi. Một người nào đó đang đau khổ
Tôi làm sao chịu nổi cơn đau đó
Chuyện xẩy ra như thế đó
Hãy choàng lên chúng bằng vải đen
Và hãy dẹp bỏ những ngọn đèn…
Đêm rồi.
 
 
IV
 
 

Họ sẽ chỉ cho mi, con quỉ nhỏ đáng yêu, ưa chọc quê người khác,

"The wild girl"- như nick của ta – của thôn Vỹ Dạ

Như thế nào, tới điểm nào, đời ta sẽ trở thành:

Như thế nào, người đứng thứ ba trăm, trong dòng người  

Trước nhà tù, với gói quà

Và, với nước mắt nóng hổi

Làm tan băng Năm Mới

Xa xa kia, là hàng dương

Uốn cong

Không 1 âm thanh

Chỉ là câm nín

Bao nhiêu mạng người kết thúc ở đó

Những cuộc đời ngây thơ, vô tội...

 

        V

 

Trong mười bảy tháng, ta đã khóc,

Gọi mi về nhà.

Con của ta, niềm kiêu ngạo, hãnh diện của ta

Nỗi kinh hoàng ghê sợ của ta

Đứa con trai độc nhất của ta

Mọi chuyện rối tung muôn đời, đời đời

Chẳng có gì rõ ràng đối với ta

Kẻ nào là con vật, kẻ nào là con người

Và, là bao lâu, tới khi hành quyết?

Chỉ có những bông hoa bụi bặm

Tiếng linh kinh của những lư hương

Những dấu vết đâu đó

Tới đâu đâu, chẳng đâu.

Và. Nhìn thẳng vào mắt ta

Và cái chết đe doạ,

Là 1 vì sao khổng lồ

 

 


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