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
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
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
and the earth would tremble, languished.
If I allow my vast voice
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,
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,
and so unwanted?
By Vladimir Mayakovsky
Translation by Andrey Kneller