We're Few, by Boris Pasternak (two translations)
We're Few, by Boris Pasternak (two translations) stories

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# Babette Deutsch > We're few, perhaps three, hellish fellows
Source: MilkbottleF https://www.reddit.com/r/...

We're Few, by Boris Pasternak (two translations)

by MilkbottleF

# Babette Deutsch

> We're few, perhaps three, hellish fellows

> Who hail from the flaming Donetz,

> With a fluid gray bark for our cover

> Made of rain clouds and soldiers' Soviets

> And verses and endless debates

> About art or it may be freight rates.


> We used to be people. We're epochs.

> Pell-mell we rush caravanwise

> As the tundra to groans of the tender

> And tension of pistons and ties.

> Together we'll rip through your prose,

> We'll whirl, a tornado of crows,


> And be off! But you'll not understand it

> Till late. So the wind in the dawn

> Hits the thatch on the roof--for a moment--

> But puts immortality on

> In trees' stormy sessions, in speech

> Of boughs the roof's shingles can't reach.

# Eugene M. Kayden

> We are few. Perhaps three: a dark

> Infernal lot, embittered, wet

> Beneath a grey and racing bark

> Of rains, low clouds--the soviet

> Of soldiers, of debates and curses,

> Disputes about fares and verses.


> We were people. An epoch now,

> We are swept on caravan trails

> As the tundra's swept in the sough

> Of pistons, tender, and rails.

> We swoop, break through, interpose,

> We swirl,--a whirlwind of crows.


> You'll not understand until late.

> When winds in the morning confound

> The thatch of the roofs, a debate

> In the congress of trees will resound,

> Astir with immortal speech

> Where the shingled roofs do not reach.

Hat-tip to Marianne Moore, who quotes Deutsch's translation of this poem in "Music And Scrupulous Art In Babette Deutsch'S Poems",

published in the New York Herald Tribune Book Review on 12 July 1959, and collected in The Complete Prose of Marianne Moore (p. 526-8.)

Edit: and another translation I found in an anthology of Soviet literature, by

# George Reavey

> We are few. Perhaps we are three,

> From the Don, burning and desperate,

> Close under the grey running bark

> Of the rams, of clouds and soldiers'

> Soviets, discussions, and verses

> About means of transport and art.


> We were people. Now we are epochs.

> Were swept, and are caravan-sped

> As tundra by sighs of the tender

> And the panting of pistons and rails.

> We'll swoop, break the barriers and touch,

> We'll whirl in a whirlwind of crows,


> And past! You will gasp when too late.

> Thus striking at daybreak heaped straw

> --Instantly tossed in confusion--

> The wind's still eternal in talks

> Of the trees' storm-roused assembly

> Loud over the mouldering thatch.

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