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6 comments

Comment from: Bryan [Visitor]
Oh man, Don, this was an amazing post. I have nothing to offer, though. I gotta say, I never say that; lonely = l-one-ly.
12/14/09 @ 12:21
Comment from: Edgar [Visitor]
Excellent translation, Don. To work at that level requires mastery of both languages, in both meaning and feeling.
12/14/09 @ 19:34
Comment from: Kyle [Visitor]
Hi, Dr. Livingston. Below is my translation. I substituted the numerical juxtaposition in line 3 for an antonymous one and though I am also not an Akhmatova scholar, this is how I think The Last Toast might look in English if she were a morally relativistic, atheistic Slavophile. Dr. Croft would appreciate that I kept the 8-6-8-6 meter as well as the rhyme scheme. The Doors' "People are strange" was an integral part of the methodology.
I also enjoyed this post and still read your blog daily. Dobrii den.


I drink to a dismantled roof,
and to my ruinous view,
to friendship which makes me aloof,
and I must drink to you,

to my lying lips and false word,
and icy, lifeless stare,
to the rough and cruel in the world,
and God, who was not there.

Don responds: Kyle, I like it. Your version takes the lips as being Akhmatova's own, which is an interpretation that had not crossed my mind, but there is no grammatical reason that precludes it. (I just came across a web page that made me think she might have had in mind the lips of her son Лев Николаевич Гумилёв, who was forced to denounce her while under interrogation in May of 1934.)

I like the phrase “ruinous view.” It first brought to my mind a view of ancient ruins, then a view from a building whose roof had been torn off during war time, and then a reinterpretation of ruinous in the sense of "foreboding disaster."
12/15/09 @ 18:25
Comment from: Degas [Visitor]
Очень хорошие стихи!!! Ахматова великая поэтесса!!!
12/29/09 @ 04:39
Comment from: Alfredo Somolinos [Visitor]
Hi
On page 244 of the "Anna Akhmatova, Poet and Prophet" biogravy by Roberta Reeder you can get information about the poem. ISBN 0-312-13429-0
It seems that " in the bitter poems entitled 'parting'Akhmatova reflect on her feelings about her relationship with Punin. In the first she talks about the long and dreadful duration of their parting"
There is also a translation of the poem there, more literal that yours.
Alfredo
04/14/12 @ 13:50
Comment from: Daniel [Visitor]
The Translation that I have found goes:

I drink to our ruined house,
to the dolor of my life
to our lonliness together;
and to you I raise my glass,
to lying lips that have betryaed us,
to dead-cold, pitiless eyes
and to the hard realities:
that the world is brutal and coarse,
that God in fact has not saved us.

Personally I think that this peom might be an analog for the Russian Revolution.
10/16/12 @ 10:44

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