An Imagined Encounter


 

Верлен и Сезан

(Fragments)

“Я стукаюсь
о стол,
о шкафа острия –
четыре метра ежедневно мерь.
Мне тесно здесь
в отеле Istria –
на коротышке
rue Campagne – Premiere…

…Мне жмет.
Парижская жизнь не про нас –
в бульвары
тоску рассыпай.
Направо от нас –
Boulevard Montparnasse,
налево –
Boulevard Raspail….”

Владимир Владимирович Маяковский

 

___________________________________

 

Verlaine and Cézanne

“I bump into
the table,
against the edge of the cupboard-
measure out four meters for myself each day.
I am short of space here in the hotel Istria-
at the fag-end of rue Campagne Première…

…I’m oppressed
Parisian life is not ours-
You just scatter your melancholy
Over the boulevards.
On the right of us
The Boulevard Montparnasse,
On the left-
The Boulevard Raspail…”

Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky

 

Verlaine and Cézanne (1925) is an imagined encounter with two great artists reduced to the proportions of a casual, but inwardly weighty, conversation over a table in the Rotonde. It reflects the boredom with Paris that we find expressed in Mayakovsky’s letters, and the imagined conversation with the great men is concerned exclusively with the current problems of poets in Moscow. In a line of this poem they both claim Vincent Van Gogh was their God during a season.

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