untitled Russian translation

I shall leave for some remote Northern city,
Squatting, I will smoke a roll-up,
I’ll be pricked by a dear friend accidentally,
He will sob over me when he sobers.

I know one cheerless place in medieval Rus,
Where cheerful people live for the day,
To stay there is scary, to leave is to lose honour,
To gulp spirits - for soul; and to pray - into darkness.

What rivers are located in taiga,
What vastness unfolds in the morning,
Local women roam them and fugitive lifers
Are raising horizons into the third power.

Let me go, you. I’m alive only barely,
I’m nobody’s forever, a Judas, a psychopath,
I am not in deep sorrow, but the gloomy, dark fir trees
Promise a certain deep sorrow ahead.

Boris Rizhy (1974-2001). Translated by Olia Grebenyuk


  1. Is very stately . Like the certain repetitions that negate the former thought. great depressive expression.
    - excuse ignorance - what is taiga
    - have concern for the comma:
    'gloomy, dark fir trees'
    but not sure enough to suggest anything
    - well done / / // applause

  2. Taiga is 'the coniferous evergreen forests of subarctic lands, covering vast areas of northern North America and Eurasia.'
    [Origin: 1885–90; < Russ taĭgá < one or more Turkic languages of the Altai Mountain region; cf. Altai, Shor tayγa forest-covered mountain]

    Thank you, this needs more work though...I'm not happy with the last stanza at all. Yeah, this guy killed himself aged 27 (oh dear) in 2002. Boris Rizhy was an immensely talented, but depressed man.

    I want to translate more of his stuff. I agree with you over the coma issue. Maybe it doesn't need it at all. In fact those last two lines need to be redone....

    I'll work on it.

  3. But I like those last two lines the best !
    "I am not in deep sorrow . .. but a certain deep sorrow . . . " works really well. it is self-fulfilling,a sort of positive negativity, that is very inherent in clinical depression.
    - but what are your concerns with this?

  4. - reiterate question "what are your concerns with this?" - (the last two lines?)

  5. Wow.

    These things I didn't see before:
    "to gulp spirits-for soul;and to pray-into darkness" (maybe get rid of the "and"?) Love the punctuation

    "Local women roam them (the rivers I am assuming) and fugitive lifers/ Are raising horizons into the third power"

    Raising horizons (maybe just: to) the third power.

    It's great stuff.