Nikolay Tikhonov
The Wind

Literal Translation

The Wind

Running full tilt, skipping along, past the covered
Passageways of the marketplace, limping on the fly,
By way of the wall, the boulevard, the ripped-up newspaper,
The one not read all the way through, not all the way unfolded,
The one born yesterday—only soon to die.

Having checked out the clock on the old wall,
He lopped off the corners of the sea, just like that.
You remember the wind over the dawn of winter,
He who kept jumping, who entangled all the nets,
Who demanded a ransom be paid, for himself and for us.

Today he’s in the chimney same as before, and, slackening off,
He’s spreading out, deploying in a line like infantry troops, growing colder,
Then, bursting out into hand-to-hand fighting, he’s melted away like a salvo.
But what would he say, if he flew inside our walls?
True, we’ve settled accounts with him, we’re quits, but what would he say?


Literary Translation/Adaptation

The Wind

Full-tilt racer, skip along, gusty guy,
Blows through the marketplace,
Limping on the fly,
Skirting walls blustery,
Making streets sigh,
Poor tattered newspaper, not yet read,
Pages in disarray, not widespread,
Born only yesterday, soon to be dead,

Checks out a wall clock on the town hall,
Lops off the corners of the sea-scape mall,
Do you recall the early morns
Of winters and the wind,
‘Member how he agitated,
Tangled nets and skimmed
All about the central square,
“Pay the ransom, folks,
If you don’t I’ll go on gusting,
Wrack your ribs with pokes”?

Today he blows the same sufflation,
Wheezing in the chimney still,
Same old windbag, same jactation,
Dressed in flimsy dishabille,
Hear him slacken off his flurry?
He double-times his marching troops,
Watches as they scamper-scurry,
Whips away their headgear, whoops,
Stings their eyesight, makes it blurry,
Mustering his feints, employs
His biggest guns in booms of noise,

But what would he say,
Were he to fly right now
Inside our walls?
True, we’ve long since settled
Accounts with him; we and he are quits.
But still, what would he say?

Translated by U. R. Bowie

Николай Тихонов
Ветер

Вперебежку, вприпрыжку, по перекрытым
Проходам рынка, хромая влет
Стеной, бульваром, газетой рваной,
Еще не дочитанной, не дораскрытой,
Вчера родилась — сейчас умрет,

Над старой стеною часы проверив,
У моря отрезал углы, как раз —
Ты помнишь ветер над зимним рассветом,
Что прыгал, что все перепутывал сети,
Что выкуп просил за себя и за нас?

Сегодня он тот же в трубе и, редея,
Рассыпался в цепь, как стрелки, холодея,
И, грудью ударив, растаял, как залп,
Но что б он сказал, залетев в наши стены,
Мы квиты с ним, правда, но что б он сказал?

Перевод стихотворения Николая Тихонова «Ветер» на английский.
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