Poetry by


Vyacheslav Kupriyanov




In Anyone's Tongue

in the wet tongue of water
we are the uppermost of fish
we are a splash
as if of a stone
we are a form
fickle as a cloud
we are flesh
we are warmth
we are thirst


in the far-off lexicon of stars
we are still being counted
in the class
of interjections


in the heavenly tongue of space
we are the feelers of earth
we feel ourselves
we twine with each other
we stretch up
the stars


is eternity
in the tongue of trees

are minutes
in the tongue of resin

we are seconds
with the axes
of cutting questions

at the feet
of omniscient

Translated from Russian by Francis R. Jones. An excerpt from: In Anyone's Tongue, Forest Books, London & Boston, 1992, bilingual edition: Russian-English. © Vyacheslav Kupriyanov.




Other poems



Human love


The terrible attraction
to strangers

The fear like a burden
of how to be
with your loved ones

O the solemn certainty
of plants!

Their love
they have entrusted
to the insects
the birds
and the wind





The pyramids


The Egyptian pyramids
those bunkers for state mummies
raised up against cataclysm

poor boys
they don't realise
that their curious descendants
long ago made them exhibits

in defenceless museums



Long life


All thruogh my
long life
the darkness of the night
has not altered

But it seemed to me
that the stars
grew more attentive
one to another


Shark - 1


One night it swims up
to the top of your bed
and stretches wide its jaws:

your army-issue iron bedstead
is what saves you

Before dawn half asleep
you think how good that
you're still a soldier
and can sleep on a bedstead
that is iron and reliable

Come the morning a different iron
is what waits for you




Translated from Russian by Steve Holland. © Vyacheslav Kupriyanov.



Biographical information | International poetry in translation