PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
PNR266 Now Available
The latest issue of PN Review is now available to read online. read more
Most Read... Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
M. Wynn ThomasThe Other Side of the Hedge
(PN Review 239)
Jamie OsbornIn conversation with Sasha Dugdale
(PN Review 240)
Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing ‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing
(PN Review 236)
Next Issue Stav Poleg Running Between Languages Jeffrey Meyers on Mr W.H. (Auden) Miles Burrows The Critic as Cleaning Lady Timothy Ades translates Brecht, Karen Leeder translates Ulrike Almut Sandig
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
PN Review New Issue

This poem is taken from PN Review 199, Volume 37 Number 5, May - June 2011.

Poems of 1915-1920 (translated by Christopher Whyte) Marina Tsvetaeva
Someone among my forebears was a fiddler,
a horseman and a thief on top of that.
That's why I'm so unable to sit still,
why you can smell the wind all through my hair!

Swarthy, it must be him who helps me steal
apricots from a cart that bullocks draw;
he's answerable for my passionate fate,
my reckless curls and my aquiline nose.

Scratching his head, he watched the ploughman plough,
turning a plucked dogrose between his lips.
Worst of accomplices, in bed he was
artful and expert - but he brought bad luck!

Lover of pipes, of necklace beads, the moon,
of all the young girls in each neighbour's house,
one further attribute comes into mind -
my jaundice-eyed forefather was a coward.
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image