Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Rookie (18 July 1933 / Zima Junction, Siberia)

Colours


When your face came rising
above my crumpled life,
the only thing I understood at first
was how meager were all my possessions.
But your face cast a peculiar glow
on forests, seas, and rivers,
initiating into the colors of the world
uninitiated me.
I’m so afraid, I’m so afraid,
the unexpected dawn might end,
ending the discoveries, tears, and raptures,
but I refuse to fight this fear.
This fear-I understand-
is love itself. I cherish this fear,
not knowing how to cherish,
I, careless guardian of my love.
This fear has ringed me tightly.
These moments are so brief, I know,
and, for me, the colors will disappear
when once your face has set...


Translated by George Reavey

Submitted: Friday, August 17, 2007
Edited: Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Form:


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  • Rookie Nadine Lockhart (2/16/2014 5:12:00 PM)

    Horrible translation. I love this poem; it annihilates me. This translation does nothing. The one below submitted by Evan Crosby is the one I first heard. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Evan Crosby (5/5/2009 1:16:00 PM)

    I have a different translation of the poem:

    When your face appeared over my crumbled life,
    At first I understood only the poverty of what I had.
    Then it's particular light on woods, on rivers, on the sea,
    Became my beginning in the colored world in which I had not yet had my beginning.

    I am so frightened, so frightened of the revelations, tears, and excitment finishing.
    I don't fight it. This fear is my love. I nourish it who can nourish nothing -
    Love's slipshod watchman.
    Fear hems me in.

    I am conscious that these minutes are short and that the colors in my eyes will vanish when your face sets. (Report) Reply

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