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 JOHN WOODSWORTH
(Dzhon Vudsvort)
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Sample Russian poems:
iz Moskvy i Jasnoj Poljany 98
[from Moscow & Yasnaya Polyana 98]
(with English translation)
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(page updated 21 November 2003)
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The following two poems were written at the same spot, a day apart, on the quiet shore of the 'Great Pond' at Yasnaya Polyana (Tolstoy's ancestral estate south of Moscow), where JW was attending a Tolstoy conference.  Vladimir Tolstoy (great-great-grandson of writer Leo Tolstoy & Yasnaya's current director) joked that we experienced three seasons of the year in three days -- autumn on the 1st of October, winter on the 2nd and spring on the 3rd.  The two poems below were written on the 2nd and 3rd of October 1998, respectively.

The three poems on this page appeared in JW's self-published chapbook V gorode i v derevne... stikhi iz Moskvy i Jasnoj Poljany 1998 [In the city and the country... poems from Moscow and Yasnaya Polyana 1998] -- see Poetry & music page for a list of contents.



 
 
 

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NEW:
Click here to read more poems from Yasnaya Polyana
Click here to read a poem from Turgenev's estate "Spasskoe-Lutovinovo"
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PLEASE NOTE:
The Russian poems on this page are shown in image representation only.
Unfortunately, they do not have the properties of electronic text.
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U bol'shogo pruda [At the Great Pond] I & II
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English translation follows
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John Woodsworth

At the Great Pond I
(U Bol'shogo pruda I)

 
Snow is falling at Yasnaya's Great Pond,
All covered with ripples of greyness÷
And only my feelings can truly respond
To the pond's silent message of stillness.

Snow -- in October -- lies everywhere deep÷
The birches are decked out in whiteness÷
Have the field-grasses started their long winter's sleep,
Or is Fall showing Winter politeness?

Peace reigns in the soul, while on every tree
Beauty rests in a silent Nirvana,
And I feel God is here and is talking with me
In the stillness of Yasnaya Polyana.

Great Pond, Yasnaya Polyana
2 October 1998

Translated from the Russian by John Woodsworth
14 November 2001
 
 

At the Great Pond II
(U Bol'shogo pruda II)






Sunlight is pouring on Yasnaya's Great Pond,
All covered with water-bright mirror÷
And only my vision can truly respond
To a radiance that grows ever clearer.

We thank you, dear sunshine, for coming today
After yesterday's snowstorm untimely÷
Your radiance is seen and enlightens our way÷
What an ecstasy, blest so sublimely!

In gloom or in sunshine, all here is just right,
Where peace lies in Spirit's corona÷
And I feel in my heart God's own peace-bearing light,
In my own inner Yasnaya Polyana.

Great Pond, Yasnaya Polyana
3 October 1998

Translated from the Russian by John Woodsworth
15 November 2001
 

*          *          *

Vera, nadezhda, ljubov'... v Moskve
[Faith, hope & love... in Moscow]

The following poem is based on an experience the author actually witnessed on his way to the metro one day in Moscow.  (English translation follows below original)

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English translation follows
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John Woodsworth

Faith, hope and love... in Moscow
(Vera, nadezhda, ljubov'... v Moskve)

 
Not far from the Kievski underground station
On a sidewalk a pigeon lay, having just died.
A feather is all that remains of the mishap...
The body was already shoved to one side.

A ragged-clothed lady stands in the station,
A ball of fur rests on her blouse of old silk...
The ball gives a mew -- it's a newly-born kitten...
It's probably wondering: now where is my milk?

Are our hopes for happiness slain like the pigeon?
Do we shove our faith in good off to one side?
Our hope is no pigeon, but a powerful phoenix --
It will rise once again to its glory and pride!

And are we not famished for food of the spirit?
Do we mew and cry when life's evils appear
To crush us?  But then let us turn to our Maker!
As a mother He comforts His children so dear.

But we can still sing, for our hope is well-founded
That faith here in Russia will rise like a dove:
To the brand-name of "Faith" on the door to the station
Are thoughtfully added the words "hope and love".
 
 

Moscow
26 September 1998

In conjunction with the "Faith, Hope and Love" Day in Russia (30 September), of which the author was unaware when he wrote this poem.  See I Corinthians 13:13.
 

Translated from the Russian by John Woodsworth
15 June 2002
 


 
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Special note:  The Russian fonts used to display the poems above were designed by JW in the late 1980s, using the font editor "FonTastic" on an old 512K Macintosh computer.
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...
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"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you... 
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

-- John 14:27
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Russian webpage (with poetry):
<http://www.in.msk.ru/rus/biblioteka/avtor/070.shtml>

E-mail : <jw[at ]kanadacha.ca>
Please copy this address manually into your address bar, using the usual symbol in place of [at]
 
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Poems from Yasnaya Polyana
Poem from Turgenev's estate

 
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