Photo by Tamara Sukhomlinova
A mournful time of year! Its sad enchantment
flatters my vision with a parting grace -
I love the sumptuous glow of fading nature,
the forests clad in crimson and in gold,
the shady coolness and the wind's dull roaring,
the heavens all shrouded in a billowing mist
and the rare gleams of sun, the early hoarfrosts,
and distant grey-beard winter's gloomy portents.
Alexander Pushkin, "Autumn"
(Translated by Peter France)
The clouds are grey and gloomy, boding rain.
An autumn mist envelops the bare earth.
Chasing each other through the spacious plain,
To warm themselves, run foals of last year’s birth.
No grass, no tulips. Silent everywhere
Are children’s noisy games and young lads’ mirth.
The trees like poor old beggars stand and stare,
Bereft of leaves, as naked as the earth.
The men tan cow- and horsehides in big vats
And mend old padded gowns and winter garb.
The housewives stitch up holes in the felt tents.
Old women sit and spin their endless yarn.
The cranes set off towards the south in flocks.
The camel caravans go marching slowly on.
All’s quiet and sad in the auls amid the steppes.
Laughter and games until next spring have gone.
A cruel wind blows. The air gets cold as ice.
From chills old men and children suffer sore.
The hungry dogs run off to hunt for mice,
Not finding bones and meat-scraps as before.
The sky is black with dust raised by the wind.
The autumn’s damp, but as bad customs say,
To light a fire is a mortal sin
And so it’s dark in tents both night and day.
(Translated by Dorian Rottenberg)