Alexander Alexandrovich Blok translated by Paul Magee

Alexander Alexandrovich Blok was born in 1880 and died in 1921. He is celebrated as the foremost of the Russian symbolists. His first book was entitled Verses about the Beautiful Lady.




фонарь, аптека

Ночь, улица, фонарь, аптека,
Бессмысленный и тусклый свет.
Живи ещё хоть четверть века —
Всё будет так. Исхода нет.

Умрёшь — начнёшь опять сначала
И повторится всё, как встарь:
Ночь, ледяная рябь канала,
Аптека, улица, фонарь.
Night, a street-lamp and a chemist’s

Night, a street-lamp and a chemist’s.
This lustreless, meaningless globe.
Have twenty more years, or some more.
No one’s ever known an exit.

You’ll die. Start it all over again:
everything repeats the past.
Night, an ice-cold ripple
in the canal, a street-lamp and a chemist’s.


Paul Magee is author of Stone Postcard (2014), Cube Root of Book (2006) and the prose ethnography From Here to Tierra del Fuego (2000). Paul majored in Russian and Classical languages, and has published translations of Vergil, Catullus, Horace and Ovid. He is currently working on a third book of poems, The Collection of Space. Paul is Associate Professor of Poetry at the University of Canberra.