Archive for the Poetry Category

Vladimir Mayakovsky: “Our March” [Sweet & Sour Poetry]

Posted in Poetry, USSR on June 29, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Great poetry makes me happy and it’s a good break from daily news too often dire.

Lately I read an out-of-print book, The Penguin Book of Russian Verse; introduced and edited by Dimitri Obolensky (Penguin, 1965) and read many brilliant Russian Soviet poets.

I was most impressed by Vladimir Mayakovsky, “the poet of Futurism and of the Revolution” (Obolensky, p. xxvi) whose work, even in translation,  is still capable of transmitting tremendous inspiration to revolutionary optimists and poetry-lovers.  Here’s one of his poems from the signifying year 1917.  –左手

Our March

BEAT the tramp of revolt in the square!

Up, row of proud heads!

We will wash every city in the world

with the surging waters of a second flood.


The bull of the days is skewbald.

The cart of the years is slow.

Our god is speed.

The heart is our drum.


Is there a gold more heavenly than ours?

Can the wasp of a bullet sting us?

Our songs are our weapons;

ringing voices – our gold.


Meadows, be covered with grass,

spread out a ground for the days.

Rainbow, harness

the fast-flying horses of our years.


See, the starry heaven is bored!

We weave our songs without it’s help.

Hey, you, Great Bear, demand

that they take us up to heaven alive!


Drink joys!  Sing!

Spring flows in our veins.

Beat to battle, heart!

Our breast is a copper kettledrum.

from The Penguin Book of Russian Verse, pg. 372-372.  Translator unknown.