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When the Universe tries to know itself, it sends round a billion and a dozen of life-hungry couriers with just three things to do: to taste, to touch and to experience. Sensorizm and ever-lasting thirst for everything new and unknown are two perfect guides in this short trip, the purpose of which is to enjoy life in its very bloom.
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"To be a boy of yours with fair hair", or Tsvetaeva as St. John in "The Disciple"

Posted 04-27-2010 at 05:08 AM by Helen Agaf
Today I’d like to share a translation of Tsvetaeva’s #1 of “The Disciple” cycle. This is a passionate and energetic lyric poem with quite interesting similes. Right from the start Marina describes her fervent wish to be as close to her spiritual leader as young St. John, Christ’s favorite disciple, was to Jesus. However, at the end of a poem a heretic motive appears with a bonfire prepared for her master.

There are also two other interesting things about the verse. Thus, some lines start with cut sentences, as if Marina deliberately omitted “I wish/want” construction and left only what she actually wanted to be and to do for the Master. Besides, the word “cloak” is repeated in each of four stanzas showing a cycle of transformation from an ordinary type of clothes into a shield as the most solid form of protection.

And again, I tried to grasp and transfer everything to make it as close to the original as possible. Where it was impossible to have both famous Tsvetaeva’s rhythm and rhyme, I preferred to have the first (almost legendary) thing. So, here it is:

To be a boy of yours with fair hair,
- Through all the times in stock! -
To toil my way after your dusty purple
In coarse disciple’s cloak.

To catch through very midst of people here
Your vivifying sigh
With very soul, your breath makes ever living
As blow – makes cloak alive.

With shoulder - more triumphant than King David’s -
To wedge in mobbing mock.
Against all hurts, against the world resentment
To serve you as a cloak.

To be the one among asleep disciples,
Who keeps awake – in dream.
When mob is raising its first stone for casting
No longer cloak – but shield!

(The verse is stopped against my sober care!
A knife is too much sharp!)
And – smiling brightly – be the first one there
Ascending your bonfire.
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