"A Winter Evening" by Alexander Pushkin, translated by Martha Dickinson Bianchi

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December 24, 2021 

A Winter Evening

Alexander Pushkin
translated by Martha Dickinson Bianchi

Sable clouds by tempest driven,
Snowflakes whirling in the gales,
Hark—it sounds like grim wolves howling,
Hark—now like a child it wails!
Creeping through the rustling straw thatch,
Rattling on the mortared walls,
Like some weary wanderer knocking—
On the lowly pane it falls.

Fearsome darkness fills the kitchen,
Drear and lonely our retreat,
Speak a word and break the silence,
Dearest little Mother, sweet!
Has the moaning of the tempest
Closed thine eyelids wearily?
Has the spinning wheel’s soft whirring
Hummed a cradle song to thee?

Sweetheart of my youthful Springtime,
Thou true-souled companion dear—
Let us drink! Away with sadness!
Wine will fill our hearts with cheer.
Sing the song how free and careless
Birds live in a distant land—
Sing the song of maids at morning
Meeting by the brook’s clear strand!

Sable clouds by tempest driven,
Snowflakes whirling in the gales,
Hark—it sounds like grim wolves howling,
Hark—now like a child it wails!
Sweetheart of my youthful Springtime,
Thou true-souled companion dear,
Let us drink! Away with sadness!
Wine will fill our hearts with cheer!

 


 

ЗИМНИЙ ВЕЧЕР 

 

Буря мглою небо кроет,
Вихри снежные крутя:
То, как зверь, она завоет,
То заплачет, как дитя,
То по кровле обветшалой
Вдруг соломой зашумит,
То, как путник запоздалый,
К нам в окошко застучит.

Наша ветхая лачужка
И печальна и темна.—
Что же ты, моя старушка,
Приумолкла у окна?
Или бури завываньем
Ты, мой друг, утомлена,
Или дремлешь под жужжаньем
Своего веретена?

Выпьем, добрая подружка
Бедной юности моей,
Выпьем с горя; где же кружка?
Сердцу будет веселей.
Спой мне песню, как синица
Тихо за морем жила;
Спой мне песню, как девица
За водой поутру шла.

Буря мглою небо кроет,
Вихри снежные крутя:
То, как зверь, она завоет,
То заплачет, как дитя.
Выпьем, добрая подружка
Бедной юности моей,
Выпьем с горя; где же кружка?
Сердцу будет веселей.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on December 24, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

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“A Winter Evening” appeared in Russian Lyrics and Cossack Songs (Duffield and Company, 1910).

Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin was a Russian poet, playwright, and novelist of the Romantic Movement. Often considered one of the major figures of modern Russian literature, he authored many works, including the verse novel Eugene Onegin (Aleksandr Smirdin, 1831). He died on January 29, 1837. 

Martha Gilbert Dickinson Bianchi was a poet, novelist, translator, and editor, best known for editing the works of her late aunt and fellow poet Emily Dickinson. She published many books, including The Single Hound: Poems of Emily Dickinson (Little, Brown, and Company, 1914). She died on December 21, 1943.

Russian Lyrics and Cossack Songs
(Duffield and Company, 1910).

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Thanks to Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic (Graywolf Press, 2019), who curated Poem-a-Day for this month’s weekdays. Read a Q&A about Kaminsky’s curatorial approach and find out more about our guest editors for the year
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