Russian Silver Age poetry translation series, 55/?
In January 2020, I applied for a literary translation residency program at the Banff Centre, for a project to translate Mirra Lokhvitskaya’s poetry into English. I argued that this collection would show English readers a fascinating and brilliant woman who communicated her own emotional life as a woman, lover, wife, mother, and devout believer, rather than serving any ideology of masculine priorities, and who had been unjustly scorned and neglected for over a century.
I did not get in. But then the entire residency program was cancelled because it was 2020, and my own life circumstances changed so much that I would be unlikely to attend a residency in the next few years. I am now adding the new poem translations I created for that application to my own website to share with the world.
This one, I like for its parallels with George Herbert’s “Love Bade Me Welcome.” I am not sure whether Lokhvitskaya was aware of that poem.
Saviour, I see Your mansion’s height,
With all Your glory its walls glitter.
But I lack dress proper and fit to
Enter it, so I have no right.
Giver of light and of belief,
Enlighten this soul’s garb of mine,
And in Your kingdom’s glory shining
Save me from sorrow and from grief.
1893; translation by Tamara Vardomskaya, January 2020.