‘A poem about the Spaniard Miguel Serveto’ by Joseph Brodsky

The poem below, in Russian, is copied from here.

Brodsky wrote it, when he was 19.  Nineteen.

Initially, I posted it here over a year ago, aspiring to translate it one day.  Today was the day.

The highly unqualified translation into English by yours truly now accompanies the original.   Now that I qualified it as unqualified, do any of my readers of both Russian and English have suggestions for more precise words and phrasing?


Иосиф Бродский

Стихи об испанце Мигуэле Сервете, еретике, сожженном кальвинистами

Истинные случаи иногда становятся притчами.
Ты счел бы все это, вероятно, лишним.
Вероятно, сейчас
ты испытываешь безразличие.

___

Впрочем, он
не испытывает безразличия,

ибо от него осталась лишь горсть пепла,
смешавшегося с миром, с пыльной дорогой,
смешавшегося с ветром,
с большим небом,
в котором он не находил Бога.
Ибо не обращал свой взор к небу.
Земля — она была ему ближе.
И он изучал в Сарагоссе право Человека
и кровообращение Человека —
в Париже.
Да. Он никогда не созерцал
Бога
ни в себе,
ни в небе,
ни на иконе,
потому что не отрывал взгляда
от человека и дороги.
Потому что всю жизнь уходил
от погони.
Сын века — он уходил от своего
века,
заворачиваясь в плащ
от соглядатаев,
голода и снега.
Он, изучавший потребность
и возможность
человека,
Человек, изучавший Человека для Человека.
Он так и не обратил свой взор
к небу,
потому что в 1653 году,
в Женеве,
он сгорел между двумя полюсами века:
между ненавистью человека
и невежеством человека.

1959

Joseph Brodsky

A poem about the Spaniard Miguel Serveto, a heretic burned by the Calvinists

The real incidents occasionally become parables.
Likely, you would have considered that unnecessary.
Likely, now
You only feel indifference.
___
However he
does not feel indifference,

for all that remains of him is a handful of ashes,
mixed with the world, with the dusty road,
mixed with the wind,
with the big sky,
where he wasn’t finding God.
For he never turned his gaze toward the sky.
The earth, to him that was closer.
And he studied the Human rights in Saragossa
and the Human blood circulation – in Paris.
Yes. He never beheld God
not in himself,
not in the sky,
not on an icon,
because he never took his eyes
off the human and off the road.
Because all his life he was getting away
from persecution.
A son of his century, he was getting away from his
century,
wrapping himself up in a cloak,
from eavesdroppers,
hunger, and snow.
He, studying the needs
and potential
of the human,
a Human, studying the Human for the Human.
He never turned his eyes up
toward the sky,
Because in the year 1653,
in Geneva,
He burned down between the two poles of his century:
between the hatred of the human
and the ignorance of the human.

1959


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