My Life (Моя жизнь), Sergei Yesenin

lingua fennica


A friend described this to me as a “prickly pear” of a poem. I didn’t notice at first that Yesenin switches the masculine/feminine rhyme pattern in the second stanza, so I had to rework things. I think there may be some (self?-))mockery at work here in the poem’s repetition, not to say tautology. All the sadder, then, that Yesenin killed himself in the end…

Seems I’m doomed by my life to accept share of suffering;
Grief is wedded to weariness, blocking my path;
Torn it seems has my life been from playful rejoicing,
Aching heart’s been sore wounded by tiredness and sloth.
Suffering seems an inheritance tied to my life;
Life is stricken indeed by unenviable portion.
Oh, in life I’ve endured some incredible strife
And my languishing soul in its grief seems to worsen.
Joy and gladness are promised by distance and haze,
And arriving, I hear…

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