Print

Открытка из города К.

Original Text

Томасу Венцлова


Развалины есть праздник кислорода  

и времени. Новейший Архимед  

прибавить мог бы к старому закону,  

что тело, помещенное в пространство,  

пространством вытесняется.          

Вода

дробит в зерцале пасмурном руины  

Дворца Курфюрста; и, небось, теперь  

пророчествам реки он больше внемлет,  

чем в те самоуверенные дни,  

когда курфюрст его отгрохал.          

Кто-то

среди развалин бродит, вороша  

листву запрошлогоднюю. То — ветер,  

как блудный сын, вернулся в отчий дом  

и сразу получил все письма.

 

© The Estate of Joseph Brodsky / Wylie Agency London

German

Postkarte aus der Stadt K.
Translated by Ralph Dutli
 
Für Tomas Venclova
 

Ruinen sind ein Fest des Sauerstoffs

vereint mit Zeit. Ein neuer Archimedes

könnte dem älteren Gesetz ein neues

beifügen: dass der Körper, in den Raum

versetzt, vom Raum verdrängt wird.

Und das Wasser

zerstößt im trüben Spiegelglas Ruinen

des Kurfürsten-Palastes; sicher lauscht

er jetzt den Prophezeiungen des Flusses

viel mehr als in den selbstbewussten Tagen,

als ihn der Kurfürst rasch hinwarf.

Ein Jemand

streift jetzt durch die Ruinen, wühlt das Laub

auf aus dem vor-vorletzten Jahr. Der Wind

kehrt als verlorner Sohn ins Haus des Vaters

heim und erhält auf einmal alle Briefe.

 
© The Estate of Joseph Brodsky / Wylie Agency London

Swedish

Vykort från K.
Translated by Bengt Jangfeldt
 

Till Tomas Venclova

 

Ruiner är en syrets fest och tidens.

En Arkimedes från vå egen era

kunde nog till den gamla lagen lägga,

att kroppar, som befinner sig i rummet,

också trängs ut av rummet.

Vattnet

pulveriserar i sin skumma spegel

ruinerna av Kurfurstens Palats;

och kanske hörsammar det flodens spådom

mer nu än under de självgoda dagar,

då kurfursten lät smäcka upp det.

Någon

går runt bland slottets murar och rör om

bland fjolårslöven. Det är vinden, som

likt en förlorad son vänt hem igen

och nu fått alla breven på en gång.

 

© The Estate of Joseph Brodsky / Wylie Agency London

  • Country in which the text is set
    Russia
  • Featured locations
    Kaliningrad (Königsberg)
  • Impact
    The poem was written in 1967 and is dedicated to Tomas Venclova (born 1937), the Lithuanian poet and Russian language scholar. The autograph of the poem is in the Beinecke collection and bears the title “A Postcard from Königsberg”. Lev Losev points out that the letter “K.” in the title also can be deciphered as Kant. Königsberg, renamed Kaliningrad after M. Kalinin, one of Stalin’s spear carriers, was the place where Immanuel Kant lived and taught, and where he was buried.  
    Brodsky met T. Venclova for the first time in the summer of 1966 during his first trip to Lithuania. These two became close friends. Brodsky devoted to him two other poems, namely “Lithuanian divertissement” and “Lithuanian nocturne”. According to Venclova “A Postcard from the Town K.” is an unrhymed sonnet, and compares it to common in the poetry of Renaissance and Baroque “epitaphs to Rome”, when the ruins of buildings are juxtaposed to the flowing waters of the Tibre. Thus the paradox is in the fact that the fluid and the treacherous remain, while the steady and the stony perish (see Losev’s commentary, p.524 in edition Иосиф Бродский. Стихотворения и поэмы в 2 томах. СПБ.: 2012. - T.2. ). In this poem by Brodsky the role of Rome is played by Königsberg.
    It is also believed that “A Postcard from the Town K.” anticipated the Roman theme in Brodsky’s poetry.
    The poem refers to the ruins of the prince-elector’s castle. In 1968, when Brodsky visited Kaliningrad for the second time the ruins of the royal castle were still present. Besides “A Postcard from the Town K.” the subject of Königsberg and Eastern Prussia is featured in the poem “At a Hanseatic Inn called 'Anchor'…” («В ганзейской гостинице «Якорь»») written in May, 1964.
  • Balticness
    The poem is devoted to the Baltic town of Kaliningrad / Königsberg, and refers to its rich historical and cultural heritage.
    It is dedicated to a Lithuanian friend of Brodsky, Thomas Venclova, a prominent scholar of Russian poetry.
    Thus it contains important cultural, historical and literary references, concentrated in the Baltic region.
    Polina Lisovskaya

     

  • Bibliographic information
    This poem was included by the author in the collection “The End of the Belle Epoque” (“Конец прекрасной эпохи”).

    First published in the Works of Joseph Brodsky, first edition, Saint Petersburg, 1994 (Сочинения Иосифа Бродского,1-е изд. в 4 тт., ред. Г. Ф. Комаров, «Пушкинский фонд», С-Пб., 1994)

  • Translations
    Language Year Translator
    Swedish 1989 Bengt Jangfeldt
  • Year of first publication
    1994
  • Place of first publication
    St. Petersburg