The Angel

The angel was flying through sky in midnight,
And softly he sang in his flight;
And clouds, and stars, and the moon in a throng
Hearkened to that holy song.
He sang of the garden of God's paradise,
Of innocent ghosts in its shade;
He sang of the God, and his vivacious praise
Was glories and unfeigned.
The juvenile soul he carried in arms
For worlds of distress and alarms;
The tune of his charming and heavenly song
Was left in the soul for long.
It roamed on earth many long nights and days,
Filled with a wonderful thirst,
And earth's boring songs could not ever replace
The sounds of heaven it lost.
Mikhail Lermontov
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Past one o'clock

Past one o’clock. You’re probably in bed

The Milky Way streams like the silver Oka

I won’t send wild telegrams. I don’t intend

to trouble you and vex you any longer

and now, as people say, our case is closed

the boat of love could not endure the grind

We’re even now. And there is no remorse,

let’s not bring up the sorrows left behind.

Behold what hush has fallen on the ground

The night awards the sky with constellations

at times as these, you rise and speak aloud

to ages, histories and all creation.
Vladimir Mayakovsky
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She loves me...

She loves me? Not? I twist my arms like I’m crazy

and breaking my fingers, I fling them away

thus people pluck petals of first-found daisies

and guess on them, sending them flying in May

I won’t hide the grayness that the razor reveals

Let the ringing silver of decades grow dense

but I pray that I never regain in these years

the disgraceful common sense
Vladimir Mayakovsky
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Lightning streaked out of her eye:

“I saw you

with another lady.

You’re the most heartless,

the most horrible guy…”

and went on,

and went on,

and went on, blaming.

Listen, I’m an educated chap, darling,

let’s just end it right there, don’t grumble.

If I wasn’t killed by the lightning,

then, I swear,

I’m not scared of the thunder.
Vladimir Mayakovsky
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Attitude to a lady

This evening was to decide

were we to fall in love passionately?--

it’s dark,

no one would see us.

I leaned over her actually,

and actually,


I was leaning,

I said to her

like a kind father :

“Emotions are steep like cliffs,--


step away farther.


step away, please.”
Vladimir Mayakovsky
Read in English and Russian

Kindness to horses

The hooves stomped faster,

singing as they trod:




Grub. -



the street skidded.

Onto its side, a horse


and immediately,

the loafers gathered,

as crowds of trousers assembled up close

on the Kuznetsky,

and laughter snickered and spluttered.

--“A horse tumbled!”

--“It tumbled -- that horse!”

The Kuznetsky cackled,

and only I

did not mix my voice with the hooting.

I came up

and looked into

the horse’s eye...

The street, up-turned,

continued moving.

I came up and saw

tears, -- huge and passionate,

rolling down the face,

vanishing in its coat...

and some kind of a universal,

animal anguish

spilled out of me

and splashing, it flowed.

“Horse, there’s no need for this!

Horse, listen,--

look at them all, - who has it worse?


we are all, to some extent, horses,--

everyone here is a bit of a horse.”


she was old

and didn’t want to be nursed,

or maybe, she took in my speech with a scoff,


the horse,

out of nowhere, suddenly burst,

heaved to its feet,

and neighing,

walked off.

Wiggling its tail,

with its mane shinning gold,

It returned to the stall,

full of joyful feelings.

She imagined once more

that she was a colt,

and work was worth doing

and life was worth living.
Vladimir Mayakovsky
Read in English and Russian

To his own beloved self the author dedicates these lines


As heavy as a blow.

“Render unto God… render unto Caesar…”

But where is someone

like me

to go?

What refuge or shelter is there?

If only I were


like the Pacific Ocean,--

I’d rise on the tiptoes of waves

to caress the moon with the tide.

Where shall I find a love

of my own proportions?

She’d never fit beneath the miniature sky!

Oh, if only I were poor!

like a millionaire!

What’s cash for the soul?--

a thief driven by greed.

The gold of all californias, I swear,

isn’t enough for the ravenous hordes of my needs.

Oh, if only I were tongue-tied

like Dante

or Petrarch!

I’d ignite my soul for a single love!

and with poetry, I'd set her ablaze!

If my words

and my love

were a triumphal arch:

the inamoratas of all the ages,

would pass through it gallantly,

leaving no trace.

Oh, if only I were


like thunder,--

I’d moan

and the earth would tremble, languished.

If I allow my vast voice

to rumble,--

the comets, wringing their burning arms,

would plunge in anguish.

I would gnaw the nights with the rays of eyes,--

if I were as dim as the sun,

I’d shine!

Why should I feed

the earth’s scrawny bosom

with my brilliant, radiant light?!

I shall go on,

dragging behind me my love’s huge clod.

In that remarkable night,--


feverish and haunted,--

by what Goliaths was I begot,

so enormous

and so unwanted?
Vladimir Mayakovsky
Read in English and Russian

Something about the Conductor

The restaurant was rouge from the electricity.

Chairs were soaked with the flesh of the feminine heap.

When the insulted conductor rushed in and explicitly

commanded musicians to weep.

And, right away, the trumpet – swinging -

smacked the sated muzzle with a handful of copper tears

on the one who lifted the thick salmon, bringing

it deliciously close to his beard.

In-between his hiccups, before he could

push a cry into his golden jaw,

the others, battered by trombones and the bassoon,

rushed by, trampling him below.

When the last one, crawling to the door weakly,

with his cheek in the sauce, dropped dead,

commanding musicians to howl beastly –

the conductor went totally mad!

Into the very teeth of the drunken carcass,

he squeezed the horn like a copper white loaf,

and blowing, listened how in the belly’s darkness

the blown-up cry, doubled in size, rung off.

When in the morning, the owner appeared,

hungry and livid, to show him the bill,

the conductor hung off the grand chandelier,

blue as he was, and turned bluer still.
Vladimir Mayakovsky
Read in English and Russian


Tobacco smoke eats the air away.

The room,--

a chapter from Kruchenykh’s Inferno.


by the window,

that day,

I caressed you ecstatically, with fervor.

Here you sit now,

with your heart in iron armor.

In a day,

you’ll scold me perhaps

and tell me to leave.

Frenzied, the trembling arm in the gloomy parlor

will hardly be able to fit the sleeve.

I’ll rush out

and hurl my body into the street,--


lashed by despair

and sadness.

There’s no need for this,

my darling,

my sweet.

Let’s part tonight and end this madness.

Either way,

my love is

an arduous weight,

hanging on you

wherever you flee.

Let me bellow out in the final complaint

all of my heartbroken misery.

A laboring bull, if he had enough,

will leave

and find cool water to lie in.

But for me,

there’s no sea

except for your love,--

from which even tears won’t earn me some quiet.

If an elephant wants to relax, he’ll lie,

pompous, outside in the sun-baked dune,

Except for your love,

there’s no sun

in the sky

and I don’t even know where you are and with whom.

If you thus tormented another poet,


would trade in his love for money and fame.


nothing sounds as precious to me

as the ringing sound of your darling name.

I won’t drink poison,

or jump to demise,

or pull the trigger to take my own life.

Except for your eyes,

no blade can control me,

no sharpened knife.

Tomorrow you’ll forget

that it was I who crowned you,

who burned out the blossoming soul with love

and the days will form a whirling carnival

that will ruffle my manuscripts and lift them above…

Will the dry autumn leaves of my sentences

cause you to pause,

breathing hard?

Let me

pave a path with the final tenderness

for your footsteps as you depart.
Vladimir Mayakovsky
Read in English and Russian