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Devils poem – Alexander Pushkin

A poem by Alexander Pushkin – Pouchkine, Pooshkin (1799-1837), in English translation

Storm-clouds hurtle, storm-clouds hover;

Flying snow is set alight

By the moon whose form they cover;

Blurred the heavens, blurred the night.

On and on our coach advances,

Little bell goes din-din-din…

Round are vast, unknown expanses;

Terror, terror is within.

— Faster, coachman! “Can’t, sir, sorry:

Horses, sir, are nearly dead.

I am blinded, all is blurry,

All snowed up; can’t see ahead.

Sir, I tell you on the level:

We have strayed, we’ve lost the trail.

What can WE do, when a devil

Drives us, whirls us round the vale?

“There, look, there he’s playing, jolly!

Huffing, puffing in my course;

There, you see, into the gully

Pushing the hysteric horse;

Now in front of me his figure

Looms up as a queer mile-mark —

Coming closer, growing bigger,

Sparking, melting in the dark.”

Storm-clouds hurtle, storm-clouds hover;

Flying snow is set alight

By the moon whose form they cover;

Blurred the heavens, blurred the night.

We can’t whirl so any longer!

Suddenly, the bell has ceased,

Horses halted… — Hey, what’s wrong there?

“Who can tell! — a stump? a beast?..”

Blizzard’s raging, blizzard’s crying,

Horses panting, seized by fear;

Far away his shape is flying;

Still in haze the eyeballs glare;

Horses pull us back in motion,

Little bell goes din-din-din…

I behold a strange commotion:

Evil spirits gather in —

Sundry, ugly devils, whirling

In the moonlight’s milky haze:

Swaying, flittering and swirling

Like the leaves in autumn days…

What a crowd! Where are they carried?

What’s the plaintive song I hear?

Is a goblin being buried,

Or a sorceress married there?

Storm-clouds hurtle, storm-clouds hover;

Flying snow is set alight

By the moon whose form they cover;

Blurred the heavens, blurred the night.

Swarms of devils come to rally,

Hurtle in the boundless height;

Howling fills the whitening valley,

Plaintive screeching rends my heart…

translated by: Genia Gurarie

email: egurarie@princeton.edu

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Copyright ©: 
Genia Gurarie

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