Skip to main content

Noon's Version

Eyewear is pleased to publish a new translation of a great poem by Mandelstam, by Alistair Noon in Berlin. This is probably one of the first poems on the cinema.  Vachel Lindsay, of course, had written on the subject.


Cinema

Three benches. A projector.
The fever of sentimentality.
An heiress who's been trapped
in her evil rival's nets.

Hands off this love's true flight,
our heroine's done nothing wrong!
So pure it's almost platonic
is her love for a lieutenant of the fleet,

collaterally conceived by a grey count
and now wandering the desert wastes.
This, for the pretty countess, is the way
her picture-adventure leaves the ground.

She starts to wring her hands
like a gypsy gone insane.
The lovers split. The demonic sounds
now follow of a hounded piano.

Her trust's not hard to abuse.
She possesses sufficient bravery
to swoop on some crucial papers
of interest to an enemy HQ.

Along an avenue of chestnuts,
a black motor car lumbers.
The film reel rattles. A thump
of alarm thrills our hearts.

Sensibly dressed, with her sac à voyage,
she travels the roads and rails.
All she's scared of is the chase;
she's tormented by a dry mirage.

The ending's both bitter and trite.
Means aren't justified by ends!
He gets his father's inheritance,
and she gets sentenced to life.

Osip Mandelstam, 1913

Translated from the Russian by Alistair Noon
2 comments

Popular posts from this blog

DANGER, MAN

Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…

AMERICA PSYCHO

According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…

SEXTON SHORTLIST!

Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton PrizeSeptember 13, 2016 / By Kelly Davio
Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:


THE BARBAROUS CENTURY, Leah Umansky
HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
GIMME THAT. DON’T SMITE ME, Steve Kronen
SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER REDEPLOYMENTS, David McAleavey
AN AMERICAN PURGATORY, Rebecca Gayle Howell
SIT IN THE DARK WITH ME, Jesse Lee Kercheval

The shortlist was selected by Eyewear’s Director Todd Swift with Senior Editor Kelly Davio. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will select the winning manuscript, which will be released at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced in October. 
Congratulations to our finalists!