Velimir Khlebnikov
Bo-be-o-bee

Bo-be-o-bee1 sang the mouth
Ve-e-o-mee sang the orbs
Pee-e-e-o sang the brows
Lee-e-e-ey sang the look
Gzee-gzee-gze-o sang the chain
Thus on a canvas of would-be connections
In another dimension there lived the Face.

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1. Khlebnikov wrote in his notebook: “B is bright red and therefore the lips are Bo-be-o-bee. Ve-e-o-mee is blue and therefore the eyes are blue; Pee-e-e-o is black. It’s not surprising that Toporkov laughed in bewilderment, not having read these considerations, and he looked at the verses like a wild Caucasian ass looks at a locomotive, without understanding its sense or significance” (Sobranie proizvedenii [Collected Works], 5:276).

Translated by Gary Kern

Велимир Хлебников
Бобэоби пелись губы...

Бобэоби пелись губы,
Вээоми пелись взоры,
Пиээо пелись брови,
Лиэээй — пелся облик,
Гзи-гзи-гзэо пелась цепь.
Так на холсте каких-то соответствий
Вне протяжения жило Лицо.

Перевод стихотворения Велимира Хлебникова «Бобэоби пелись губы...» на английский.
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