Poetic Readings

Vladimir Aristov

(to her looking through the sea)

        That linen water

                        (not averting glance from all south oceans and seas)

                      arose suddenly again
                           you recalled as were rinsing

                           there table-clothes were not laid on the waters

                                   this festival is scattered
                                           dispensed is the surface of feasts and attires
                                                    and dark of hairs taken away from the face
                                  as if again you see the reflection of sacred northern rivers
                                                      under the gloomy steep
                                                where you have rinsed the linen before

     and today’s trembling flags that now are seen to you
                                with marine stripes of sways
                                       inside them the ice of fish in depth
                                              shells crabs and corals

                            but that linen water
                                caressed your hands
                                  you touched it so
                                      as if you laundered it

                                 the ancient water was clearing up

                           wrinkles were vanishing

                   and you see between the fingers
                  other constellations in the water are out
             the Pavo and the Phoenix and close to us, the Centaurus

                   the marine signs are embroidered

            and to you inclined
                in the reflections is seen the Southern Cross

Translated by V. Aristov

Margarita Kaganova

Fly, fly to the other land

Fly, fly to the other land,
Give my regards to Red Rock,
Stop and turn, and rotate, and stand,
But don't you ever come back.
Where footprints of elongated pads
Are older than handcuffs' ring;
Where every torn harbour pub
Is filled by old sea dogs;
Where strange animal maliciously laughs
And fishes are from the sky —
It's time to recall those who lived on this land
For a hundred thousand years.

Red dust turns on sand far off,
A bird laughs in the bush.
A plush teddy bear eats the leaves,
Reefs evoke unknown terror.
Jail is never too far from a pouch,
And a pouch's not far from jail.
None of us ever knew of this land,
None, from a spout to a stern.
Look — I'm changing and lashing a tail,
Clinking with chains of the ages,
Try to return, swish your whip,
Leap, try to catch me again!

Translated by Tatiana & Mikhail Bonch-Osmolovskie

Vladimir Gubaylovsky

Cruel Sun

Moscow's January.
Black sleet covers the sidewalks.
Salt puddles are on the roads.
A dog, running down the street,
whines, tucks up the paws, stumbles to the snow.
Authorities are fighting glaze ice on the roads.

Melbourne. Feminine branch
Australian Open — 2002.
Jenifer Capriati — Marina Hinggis.
Temperature — 40.
Court burns the soles
Through the sneakers.
The water you drink boils out instantaneously,
Leaving the salty patterns on the skin.

I look out of the window.
Through voids in the clouds
Shows the pale sun
Of Moscow winter.

I look at the screen.
Hinggis is walking into the shadow from stands
Takes a breath for a moment or two, and three.
That's it.
Capriati is out on the sun.
Tennis has nothing to do with this.
Stadium, like a lens,
Focuses hard rays.
In the burning hot air
Two female figures are floating.
The movements are slack.
Capriati is advanced physically.
She is excruciating a victory.
Tennis players are leaving the court.
Higgins is sitting in a chair
She sees nothing.
She dreams that tennis ball
Is like a snow ball, thrown by a girl
Somewhere in Alps or in Tatras.
Six months later
She will, beautiful and twenty two years old,
Leave tennis…

I press my forehead against the cold window.
The salty pass runs down my cheek.
Over Moscow and Melbourne —
The same cruel Sun.

Translated by Irina Mesyats

Tatiana Daniliants

Déjà vu

It’s snowing in Adelaide
And here, in a beech forest…

To Adelaide — snow!
To Adelaide — light!
Sunrise plays with the star under heaven,
Brilliant, light cover from heaven
Falls over the forest’s heart.

Star of stars is Adelaide
Listens to the beech growing at midnight!

The tired beeches hug my shoulders,
Firefly spins and falls at my feet,
Through the transparent cold on a passionate journey
Kookaburra’s breast is snow of Adelaide!

I should go, should run through the snow,
But I should go, should run through the snow…

Translated by Tatiana Daniliyants, Gram Winter

Boris Khersonsky

Observing disturbance in my city
I admire the rules of the Southern Kingdom

The height of people in the Southern Kingdom
Matches their rank.
A peasant hardly reaches
The Emperor’s knee
For kissing this giant deformed joint
Is the third duty.

The first two include reproduction
And agriculture.

The Empress is two heads shorter
Than the newborn Heir
For women don’t matter.

While getting a rise
Civil servants gain height
And weight in compliance with the rules.
Dismissed servants shrink
And become invisible.

A year ago my father went to the South,
He redeemed our elder brother
From captivity.

The brother was no bigger than a ferret,
Fat and narrow-eyed
He was covered with short hair.

A year passed and he grew bigger.
He molts. Every morning sisters
Comb out his hair.
His eyes grow wider.
He understands much
And pronounce some words
Very distinctly.

Everything will be fine.
At least
They already seek a bride for him.

Translated by Lyudmila Khersonskaya

Igor Zhukov


Daddy-EMU for EMU-Mammy
Is always ready
To hatch EMU-
He says:
Dear spouse and mother,
If I can not fly,
There should be something of birdie
Which differs me
From the others?
I am self-incubator for the pups of mine!

Translated by Vadim Mesyats

Society of unprotected poets

for ancient Greeks the sky was
Australia literally
They deported there everyone who deserve a servitude
Together with their herds and chattels

Love is always close to the stars
I was always terrified in a planetarium

Translated by Tatiana & Mikhail Bonch-Osmoloskie

Dina Gatina

On the roofs

On freckled roofs
The blue sat down
Son of clouds.
Shot from his sling.
Hit the sparrow on the foot,

on the footboard,
comma, lived on
braids of language.

River, river,
      take me with you as you run.
River, river,
      take me with you as you run.

Translated by Matvei Yankelevich

Alexey Ostudin


Who's tell me — surfing internet, why do I feel astrallier?
I see behind the dot these symbols: «a» and «u» —
In shady grove of names I cry: hello, Australia!
But Ukraine with «u» and «a» is crying too…

When turning upside down, I take a Jack for Queen,
Kostushko mountain I take for future Ark,
There my ex-compatriot does not look so mean,
And quite the other way he drives his car park…

Sunset conceals the sun with unreality,
It’s time to see the dawn game through:
I don't know who will meet me in reality,
When I, in boxer stand, appear like kanga.ru.

Translated by Tatiana & Mikhail Bonch-Osmolovskie

Danila Davydov

* * *

The icon signs
Of non-existing lands
I fear, saint George
He replies: quiet!

There is a place beyond the boundaries of the world
Where all ships go away
It's either dry or rather wet
It rhymes definitely with «land»

There strange creatures
Undermine bases of biological laws
There people are same on the whole
But you will never find out

The very idea hypnotizes
That where it's summer it is winter
And where it's winter, then it's summer
Well, try to prove it dear playmate
Argue that you have read it somewhere
O no, my dear, you've just gone mad.

A convict there, as an elf in exile,
Chewed his wooden gingerbread
And ships entered a harbour
Where the rhyme is also «land»

When I scrutinize the maps
O saint George, where, where are you?
She places down the cards
And reveals the secret face of the planet

But if there is nothing?
If it's the same as here?
I'm distracted, I'm cursed
I am confused so.

Translated by Tatiana & Mikhail Bonch-Osmolovskie

Yulia Skorodumova

Australian folk song
(cruel romance)

Once there was a small house in the bush of Australia,
It stood on a steep precipice,
In this house a young echidna lived
Seventeen years old.

The echidna was happy and flourishing,
As Hawaiian cactus she was,
In her a neighbour platypus fell deeply in love,
For her flowing matted quills.

Guys from the bush feasted in the house,
Partying all night long.
Wild ginger dingo danced foxtrot,
Kookaburra strummed piano.

Suddenly there was a mysterious knock,
Opossum-servant replied:
— Who's there, who's knocking on the door
With a heavy pouch on a strap?

Wind blow the door wide,
And a young kangaroo came in.
— Oh echidna, — he cried from the threshold. —
Please be my one and only muse.

We will live in a shady garden,
And eat caviar,
I collected pearls in my pouch for you,
I am crazily in love with you.

But the neighbour platypus didn't give up,
He hugged the echidna and kissed her,
Kangaroo jumped over him, ringing the bell,
And kicked the platypus hard.

Platypus kept his head clear,
He picked up echidna's quill,
And thrust this mortal weapon
Into the leg of the young kangaroo.

The crowd shouted and cheered
While kangaroo cried,
And echidna stood calmly
Trifling with her quills.

Suffering kangaroo bent low
And looked at his enemy face to face.
He recognized his own blood brother,
Which was lost a long time ago.

Kangaroo, o my dearest chap,
But echidna took her sharp quill
She thrust as a knight thrusts at a snake with this quill
Through her own and platypus' breasts.

The crowd shouted and cheered,
While kangaroo cried,
And quietly lay pour echidna,
Pierced by her deadly quill.

There was a small house in a bush of Australia,
Only ghosts wander in it.
And it is said, at the sunrise
There cries a lame kangaroo.

Translated by Tatiana & Mikhail Bonch-Osmolovskie

Igor Panin


It's dawn beyond the window. The clock on the screen
Shows 5.30 am. Right!
Obeying passion I have filled the sea
With running spittle.

The pupils of my eyes are going broader,
Blood vessels are becoming tighter.
My heart beats loudly, can you hear it?
My guide is a blind mouse.

I wander secret, forbidden paths,
I run around,
And through Europe I jumped to Sydney,
I know the password.

Now all I need is to learn the price,
By looking at the tape.
One bird in hand you seek, or two in bush,
All are available.

But should I, as recently,
Be incautious,
Mulatto in leather shorts
Will take away my mind and my last sleep.

She growls as a panther, it's her style,
While getting rid of clothes.
I feel a boyish ardour
Helping her.

And every minute the grabbers-scoundrels
Charge me their fee.
Such shameful and lecherousness
Our fathers never knew.

My shoulders ache, my calves are cramped
By anguished sorrow.
It's time to stop — the day is coming,
And I come too.

Translated by Tatiana & Mikhail Bonch-Osmolovskie

Arkady Shtypel

* * *

and america has been discovered already
and australia has been discovered already
and the earth already is distinctly ball-shaped
and the universe already is finite
and maybe it is rushing towards the dawn
and maybe it is ending up to cone
where on the one end is a wooden campus
and on the other end is dried desert

sleep sleep to learn language
of white lime
red ochre
with wet fringes
of burdocks
and bird’s feathers

and there are indeed untranslatable
blood and saliva
and the number of substances
shapeless and bodiless spirits
windfearing and untranslatable
which live between the waterless stones
close by sky

the long running up and flapping
of the two torch carriers
— day and night
a good way
to the food of the people
the harmless creatures
the dwellers of the eatable Eden

the father wombat
and lizards small
and maggots white
— the heroes of the eternal rotation

the south cross during the nights the south cross
and the sails and the square and the compass
the flying anapest of night dreams
the scholars campus of night dreams
the branching cones of the time

where the red rock on the sunrise
mocks at the doctor froid

the red feathered bird is flushing

the untranslatable
of the human speech
appears in the process
of the communication with gods
and in no way else

well let it be
only totem
small beast relation
the wombat father

these days will pass
these minutes will be lost
here the moon boat
is already overturned

Translated by Maria Galina

Evgeny Lesin

How can we without a bit of insanity

On broad streets of Moscow white bears wander,
While drunk brush wallabies fill up Melbourne,
They say we're the opposite side, down-under,
Not round the corner — it cannot be true.
How on earth can we be antipodes, if mount Kostushko,
Rises above the fantastic continent!
From African countries came but our Pushkin,
Of Lylia Brik he had passionately dreamt,
They say, our Russia is a dry blazing desert,
They tell us Australia is covered by snow,
Light rail number three goes jingling by river,
Cheers, underworlder, as Kremlin bells blow.

Translated by Tatiana & Mikhail Bonch-Osmolovskie

Vsevolod Emelin

Thoughts about Australia in view of Global Warming

Oh, leave my genitals alone
I am not ready for love today
I am worried about the fate of Australia
In view of rapid ice melting.

I am disturbed by silent menaces
Boiling down in the empty sky
Over echidnas and platypuses
Over the banner with South Cross

We've wasted enough already
And now this is the last thing we need
Australia can be flooded any day now
with all its kangaroos and ostriches

The farewell days have come I can see
Drinking up my pink-eye bogus vodka
Never, in that distant Australia
will I get a hug from female antipode.

I envied but in vain back in Electrostal'
Like a Pawn envies the Queen
That down in the distant Australia
There lives Kostya Dzu-the Boxer

Antarctic Glaciers had melted down somewhat
The water level goes up
Poor Australia will not be forgotten
By ever-sympathetic Russian Folks

Oh, Australia, former servitude
Making it through to prosperity these days
Even though it's below the Equator
We are very concerned with it nevertheless!

Translated by Irina Mesyats

Andrey Rodionov

* * *

Not long ago, a few years back,
At Yaroslavsky Station they've installed turnstiles,
So you can not walk out just as easily any more
From the train, from the platform, need a ticket
One of my friends-perlovians
Arriving to Moscow warned in advance:
Well, Australia begins now!
And sure enough, australia started
Through metal barriers that obstruct the passage
Taking it for a funny game
Were jumping like kangaroos, my fellow citizens
In overcoats kangaroos, kangaroos in boots
There stormed through the turnstile a kangaroo-like
Content of suburban train from Fryazino,
Only a grandma (having something chiken-like about her)
Was squawking something at the turnstile
Hit her forehead against the ceiling ledge,
Clump of grey hear fell on the right side of her face,
Blood was trickling down her forehead on the left side,
As if another bloody clump
That is how unexpectedly she came
Although they've warned us beforehand
This, beyond the right and wrong,
Unreachable australia
Australia, engineered by Russian profiteers
Acquired heavenly, impenetrable chambers,
To touch her, one had to jump
And a warm blood was streaming beneath the feet

Translated by Irina Mesyats

Maria Galina

Kraken. From Alfred Tennison

Here Kraken conceals itself in the water abyss
Shining with pale light, waiting
Till the Ocean boils
(and He, Who will call him to the surface
Sits above all Kings)

And then he, terrible, will surf upward
And will dance in scarlet waves
Under the light of scarlet stars
(torpedo bombers are aiming to

He is the last of his own breed
He eats helpless food
And his arms are white
(and he will see the Star Wormwood
among flames and ashes)

He will be snorting in his coffin
Until the machines that move sky spheres
grind their thread up
(look, here the plaster pioneer
is already arising the trumpet to his lips)

Translated by Maria Galina

Andrey Tavrov

At the time when homes are deserted

At the time when homes are deserted
and the streets will look like moon foil,
and people get tired of living, of picking flowers,

of going to work and jazz-clubs,

and the Big Adam
(may I, gentlemen, call this way the wearying humanity)
will be constrained in apoplexy, like in burned alcohol, —
that's when people start to scrutinize

self-made objects

in hope of deliverance
in search of beasts they killed themselves.
And Big Adam's heart will stop —
this very day and hour people will look at the ocean, at the map
and will see five enlarged boats in breaking Australian waves —
and the tiger's paw print will start from here,
and then the very tiger.
And they will look at the map again
and will notice that the mainland had melted through
as fingerless palm of God — a punch into coldness and blues of the Moon,
and invisible hand of God will start from here,
and then the very God.
And they will see the Mainland shaking between Notus and Austrus,
between Murrey and Darling — the two blue arteries,
and Australian upside-down heart will thump —
this donor organ for the rest of the world,

for Great Adam.

And the Tiger will slide the heart with Guinea — between his ribs.
And he will start anew from here. Will come alive.
With a tiger and a bird.

And with what had not existed yet, but will now.

Who could have known about the heart, about the spare heart of the world?
Who could have known about the tiger, claws and boat?
Who could have known about melted-through palm, about the God?
Save for the i-do-not-understand-you island,
Save for the Kangaroo island.
Who else could have known about it?

Translated by Irina Mesyats

Vadim Mesyats

Not for me
(Cossacks' song)

Oh, not for me, Australia,
You were created under the heavens!
A chest with earthy wonders
You open, but no, not for me.
And not for me the woods are rambling,
With sparkling bright fruits,
And heavy herds of beasts
Are rushing to the stream but not for me.
And not for me the fire in the heart
Of native Australian maid.
Her enamoured chanting
Resounds in the dark but not for me.
And not for me the star is twinkling
Of tall Australian towers,
With it I am not afraid of afterlife.
You twinkle, star, but not for me!
And not for me will build a house
On lands of free a convict,
My brother, bearded my southerner,
You are inspired by Southern cross!
And not for me an oar is squeaking,
While cutting through an abysm of ocean,
The land of blessing and deception,
You glow despite of all the evil breath!
And what's for me — a haughty throne  (clanging of leg irons)
And merciful glimpse of icon.
The chainless Paradise, accept my curtsy!
I send my curtsy to Australia.

Translated by Vadim Mesyats

Tatiana Bonch-Osmolovskaya

Some pages from the book of the traveler to the south

* * *
The land AU is to the south from all other lands. You can reach the land AU by air or by sea. If you arrived to the centre of the earth and kept on going until you got outside, you would come to the middle of land AU.

* * *
People who live there do not know the rules and act in an opposite way. When there is a night for all people, it is a day in the land AU. When there is summer in our land, they live in winter. Summer lasts there for nine months, and it is so hot that metals soften and seep through the land. Fishes burn at the bottom of the rivers, and fishermen get them out of water already cooked.

* * *
It pours during winters there. The rain washes away towns and floods islands. Islands' inhabitants build their houses on pillars. They wear high boots and hats that allow them to see through water.

* * *
In water there live large lizards man's size bigger. These lizards eat anything that comes close to the water. Their flesh tastes like salted chicken. The lizards that live on land are smaller, not dangerous and foul tasting.

* * *
Inhabitants of towns wear flat shoes that flap while walking and clothes that don't cover knees. Inhabitants of villages wear leather boots, briefs and hats that frighten away evil spirits.

* * *
n the forests there grows an EU tree. Its trunk is grey, its leaves are ginger, and its juice is red. Animals who look like bears but smaller live in these trees. These animals carry their children on their backs, and eat leaves of EU trees. They sleep all day and all night. To see them falling from the tree brings misfortune.

* * *
In the desert there live people who look quite like our people but who can live without water. They believe that everything important happens to them in their dreams. While during the days they stroll about the desert and make wine out of the gum of EU trees. They watch their dreams together and together bring up children. But they do not share their wives.

* * *
On the east side of the land AU there are mountains wreathed by trees the same age as the mountains but lower in height. Mushrooms that glow in the dark grow on the trunks of these trees. If you eat these mushrooms you will see things beyond the reach of sight.

* * *
There also grow trees with fruits that look like hedgehogs but without legs. Birds do not eat them.

* * *
In rivers there lives a beast named plat which looks like a rat but with a beak of a duck and a tail of a beaver. This beast can not fly. If someone disturbs it, it can not come to its senses in few weeks.

* * *
Close to the water there live birds that look like swans but smaller. Their feathers are black, and their beaks are red. Their nestlings are born with grey fluff and with black beaks. There are no creatures more beautiful in the whole world.

Translated by Tatiana & Mikhail Bonch-Osmolovskie