Vladimir Mayakovsky |
My most respected
comrades of posterity!
exploring the twilight of our times,
will inquire about me too.
And, possibly, your scholars
with their erudition overwhelming
a swarm of problems;
once there lived
a certain champion of boiled water,
and inveterate enemy of raw water.
take off your bicycle glasses!
I myself will expound
I, a latrine cleaner
and water carrier,
by the revolution
mobilized and drafted,
went off to the front
from the aristocratic gardens
of poetry -
the capricious wench
She planted a delicious garden,
Myself a garden I did plant,
myself with water sprinkled it.
some pour their verse from water cans;
others spit water
from their mouth -
the curly Macks,
the clever jacks -
but what the hell’s it all about!
There’s no damming al this up -
beneath the walls they mandoline:
It’s no great honor, then,
for my monuments
to rise from such roses
above the public squares,
where consumption coughs,
where whores, hooligans and syphilis
in my teeth too,
and I’d rather
romances for you -
more profit in it
and more charm.
setting my heel
on the throat
of my own song.
comrades of posterity,
to the agitator
the torrents of poetry,
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.
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.
will break the mountain chain of years,
and will present itself
as an aqueduct,
by slaves of Rome
enters into our days.
When in mounds of books,
where verse lies buried,
you discover by chance the iron filings of lines,
as you would
yet awesome weapon.
It’s no habit of mine
a maiden’s ear
will not crimson
when flicked by smut.
In parade deploying
the armies of my pages,
I shall inspect
the regiments in line.
Heavy as lead,
my verses at attention stand,
ready for death
and for immortal fame.
The poems are rigid,
to muzzle their gaping
of all the armed forces
the cavalry of witticisms
to launch a wild hallooing charge,
reins its chargers still,
the pointed lances of the rhymes.
these troops armed to the teeth,
which have flashed by
victoriously for twenty years,
to their very last page,
I present to you,
the planet’s proletarian.
of the massed working class
is my enemy too
inveterate and of long standing.
Years of trial
and days of hunger
under the red flag.
as we would open
in our own house;
but we did not have to read
to make up our minds
which side to join,
which side to fight on.
were not learned
In the roar of battle
it erupted into verse,
the bourgeois decamped
as once we ourselves
like an inconsolable widow
to a funeral march -
die then, my verse,
die like a common soldier,
like our men
who nameless died attacking!
I don’t care a spit
for tons of bronze;
I don’t care a spit
for slimy marble.
We’re men of kind,
we’ll come to terms about our fame;
common monument be
Men of posterity
examine the flotsam of dictionaries:
out of Lethe
will bob up
the debris of such words
who are now
healthy and agile,
with the rough tongue
of his posters,
has licked away consumptives’ spittle.
With the tail of my years behind me,
I begin to resemble
faster through what’s left
of the five-year plan.
has brought me
no rubles to spare:
no craftsmen have made
mahogany chairs for my house.
In all conscience,
I need nothing
a freshly laundered shirt.
When I appear
before the CCC
of the coming
by way of my Bolshevik party card,
above the heads
of a gang of self-seeking
poets and rogues,
all the hundred volumes
Transcribed: by Mitch Abidor.
William Topaz McGonagall |
In an immense wood in the south of Kent,
There lived a band of robbers which caused the people discontent;
And the place they infested was called the Weald,
Where they robbed wayside travellers and left them dead on the field.
Their leader was called Grif, of the Bloody Hand,
And so well skilled in sword practice there's few could him withstand;
And sometimes they robbed villages when nothing else could be gained,
In the year of 1336, when King Edward the III.
The dress the robbers wore was deep coloured black,
And in courage and evil deeds they didn't lack;
Of the Bloody Hand, called them his devils,
Because they were ever ready to perform all kinds of ills.
'Twas towards the close of a very stormy day,
A stranger walked through the wood in search of Grif, without dismay;
And as the daylight faded he quickened his pace and ran,
Never suspecting that in his rear he was followed by a man.
And as the man to the stranger drew near,
He demanded in a gruff voice, what seek you here;
And when the stranger saw him he trembled with fear,
Because upon his head he wore a steel helmet, and in his hand he bore a spear.
What seek you here repeated the dark habited man,
Come, sir, speak out, and answer me if you can;
Are you then one of the devils demanded the stranger faintly,
That I am said the man, now what matters that to thee.
Then repeated the stranger, sir, you have put me to a stand,
But if I guess aright, you are Grif, of the Bloody Hand;
That I am replied Grif, and to confess it I'm not afraid,
Oh! Well then I require your service and you'll be well paid.
But first I must know thy name, I, that's the point,
Then you shall have the help of my band conjoint;
Before any of my men on your mission goes,
Well then replied the stranger call me Martin Dubois.
Well sir, come tell me what you want as quick as you can,
Well then replied Dubois do you know one Halbert Evesham
That dwells in the little village of Brenchley,
Who has a foster child called Violet Evesham of rare beauty.
And you seek my aid to carry her off,
Ha! Ha! A love affair, nay do not think I scoff;
For you shall enjoy her sir before this time to-morrow,
If that will satisfy you, or help to drown your sorrow.
And now sir what is your terms with me,
Before I carry off Violet Evesham from the village of Brenchley;
Well Grif, one thousand marks shall be the pay,
'Tis agreed then cried Grif, and you shall enjoy her without delay.
Then the bargains struck, uttered Grif, how many men will you require,
Come sir, speak, you can have all of my band if you desire;
Oh, thanks sir, replied Dubois, I consider four men will do,
That's to say sir, if the four men's courage be true.
And to-morrow sir send the men to Brenchley without delay,
And remember one thousand marks will be the pay;
And the plan I propose is to carry her to the wood,
And I will be there to receive her, the plan is good.
And on the next morning Grif, of the bloody Hand,
Told off four of his best men and gave them strict command;
To carry off Violet Evesham from the village of Brenchley,
And to go about it fearlessly and to make no delay.
And when ye have captured her carry her to the wood,
Now remember men I wish my injunctions to be understood;
All right, captain, we'll do as we've been told,
And carry her off all right for the sake of the gold.
So on the next morning before the villagers were out of bed,
The four robbers marched into the village of Brenchley without any dread;
And boldly entered Violet Evesham's house and carried her, away,
While loudly the beautiful girl shrieked in dismay.
But when her old father missed her through the village he ran,
And roused the villagers to a man;
And a great number of them gathered, and Wat Tyler at their head,
And all armed to the teeth, and towards the wood they quickly sped.
And once within the wood Wat Tyler cried, where is Violet Evesham,
Then Grif, of the Bloody Hand cried, what ails the man;
My dear sir I assure you that Violet Evesham is not here.
Therefore good people I advise ye to retire from here.
No! I'll not back cried Wat Tyler, until I rescue Violet Evesham,
Therefore liar, and devil, defend thyself if you can;
Ay replied Grif, that I will thou braggart loon,
And with my sword you silly boy prepare to meet thy doom.
Then they rained their blows on each other as thick as hail,
Until at last Grif's strength began to fail;
Then Wat leaped upon him and threw him to the ground,
Then his men fled into the wood that were standing around.
Then the villagers shouted hurrah for Wat Tyler and victory,
And to search for Violet Evesham they willingly did agree;
And they searched the wood and found her at the foot of a tree,
And when she was taken home the villagers danced with glee.
And 'tis said Wat Tyler married Violet Evesham,
And there was great rejoicing among the villagers at the marriage so grand;
And Wat Tyler captured Dubois, and bound him to a tree,
And left him there struggling hard to gain his liberty.