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Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky

(1893-1930 / Russia)

At The Top Of My Voice


First Prelude to the Poem

My most respected comrades of posterity!
Rummaging among these days' petrified crap
exploring the twilight of our times,
you,
possibly,
will inquire about me too.
And, possibly, your scholars will declare,
with their erudition overwhelming a swarm of problems;
once there lived a certain champion of boiled water,
and inveterate enemy of raw water.
Professor, take off your bicycle glasses!
I myself will expound those time and myself.
I. a latrine cleaner and water carrier,
by the revolution mobilised and drafted,
went off to the front from the aristocratic gardens
of poetry-- the capricious wench.
She planted a delicious garden,
the daughter,
cottage,
pond
and meadow.
Myself a garden I did plant,
myself with water sprinkled it.
Some pour their verse from water cans;
other spit water from their mouth--
the curly Macks, the clever Jacks--
but what the hell's it all about!
There's no damming all this up--
beneath the walls hey mandoline:
'Tara-tina, tara-tine,
tw-a-n-g..'
It's no great honour, then, for my monuments
to rise from such roses
above public squares,
where consumption coughs,
where whores, hooligans, and syphilis walk.
Agitprop
sticks
in my teeth too,
and I'd rather
compose
romances for you--
more profit in it
and more charm
But I
subdued
myself,
setting my heel
on the throat
of my own song.
Listen, comrades of prosperity,
to the agitator, the rabble-rouser.
Stifling the torrents of poetry,
I'll skip the volumes of lyrics;
as one alive, I'll address the living.
I'll join you in the far communist future,
I, who am no Esenin super-hero.
My verse will reach you across the peaks of ages,
over the heads of governments and poets.
My verse will reach you
not as an arrow in a cupid-lyred chase,
not as worn penny reaches a numismatist,
not as the light of dead stars reaches you.
My verse by labour will break the mountain chain of years,
and will present itself
ponderous,
crude,
tangible,
as an aqueduct,
by slaves of Rome
constructed,
enters into our days.

Submitted: Thursday, September 02, 2010
Edited: Saturday, November 19, 2011

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