As we leave behind the economic troubles of 2008, I thought it fitting to post this poem by Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930), Russian futurist poet. Mayakovsky’s life is celebrated by one of the greatest museums anywhere, the Mayakovsky House in Moscow, which re-creates in visual and spatial terms the constructivism of Mayakovsky’s writing. The image is from their web-site, and shows a room in the museum.
The middle quartrain formed part of Mayakovsky’s suicide note, with “you” replaced with “life”.
Past one o’clock. You must have gone to bed.
The Milky Way streams silver through the night.
I’m in no hurry; with lightning telegrams
I have no cause to wake or trouble you.
And, as they say, the incident is closed.
Love’s boat has smashed against the daily grind.
Now you and I are quits. Why bother then
to balance mutual sorrows, pains and hurts.
Behold what quiet settles on the world.
Night wraps the sky in tribute from the stars.
In hours like these, one rises to address
The ages, history, and all creation.
Vladimir Mayakovsky : The Bedbug and Selected Poetry. Translation by Max Hayward and George Reavey. Bloomington, IA, USA: Indiana University Press.
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