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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.
...


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