Three Rubaiyat

(Feel free to listen to this post as a podcast on Spotify if you’d like.)

Cleaning up my office, I found these three translated rubaiyat (in Russian rubai) by the Uzbek author Sabit Madaliev that I must have translated in about 2005 or so. They were published back then in an earlier incarnation of eXchanges magazine, which, being in an online format from those days, has not been preserved in an accessible form. So I’m guessing no one will be bothered if I put them up here along with Sabit’s originals. Plus, I don’t know what else to do with these old stray papers.

If you don’t know the format of the rubaiyat, you’ll figure it out, even through my slantedness.

Повернулась судьба пустотою экрана,

где по белому белым и всё без обмана.

Я в бессонных ночах без тебя заблудился,

как весло, унесённое в даль океана.

Fate turned with the emptiness of a screen

where white is white and all pristine.

I lost myself in sleepless nights without you,

like an oar carried far out to the sea.

У предела души моей, где преломляeтся свет,

на веранде, где ты всё сидишь ещё, кутаясь в плед,

там меня уже нет, но хранят твои вещи мой взгляд,

как деревья хранят неземное дыханье планет.

At my soul’s border, where light splinters,

on the balcony where you still sit, bundling in a blanket,

I am absent, though your things keep my gaze,

as trees keep the foreign breath of planets.

Здесь вновь я обездолен в час земной,

и вынужден колодец рыть иглой.

Но только здесь о родине заплакать

могу я неожиданно порой.

Here once more I’m burdened with earth time,

constrained to dig a well with a thimble.

But it’s only here that I can mourn my homeland,

unexpectedly, once in a while.

Now I just wish I could find the book that these came from.

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