Poetry Archives Bio

Bathed in sweat and apprehension...

August 1, 2014

This is my translation of an excerpt of «Тёркин на том свете» [Terkin in the Next World] by Александр Твардовский [Aleksandr Tvardovsky]. In the poem, Terkin arrives in the underworld and meets the editor of the newspaper Grobgazeta (Coffin Gazette), busy with an article. I reproduce the original excerpt below.

Bathed in sweat and apprehension,
Beak to—fro, just like a bird:
Here subtracts, here adds a mention,
Here a word—his own invention.
Here strikes out another’s word.
Here he'd note words with a checkmark,
He himself both Glav and Lit,
Here he'd put them in quotations,
Here again strip them of it.

Весь в поту, статейки правит,
Водит носом взад-вперед:
То убавит, то прибавит,
То свое словечко вставит,
То чужое зачеркнет.
То его отметит птичкой,
Сам себе и Глав и Лит,
То возьмет его в кавычки,
То опять же оголит.