Classic · Collection · Poetry · Russian Culture · Russian Futurism · Russian Literature

Vladimir Mayakovsky

Lilichka! (Instead of a Letter)

Tobacco smoke eats the air away.
The room,— a chapter from Kruchenykh’s Inferno.
Recall,— by the window, that day, I caressed you ecstatically, with fervor.
Here you sit now, with your heart in iron armor.
In a day, you’ll scold me perhaps and tell me to leave.

Frenzied, my trembling arm in a gloomy parlor will hardly be able to fit the sleeve.
I’ll rush out and hurl my body into the street,— distraught, lashed by despair and sadness.
There’s no need for this, my darling, my sweet.
Let’s part tonight and end this madness.
Either way, my love is an arduous weight, hanging on you wherever you flee.
Let me bellow out in a final complaint all of my heartbroken misery.
A laboring bull, if he had enough, will leave and find cool water to lie in.

But for me, there’s no sea except for your love,— from which even tears won’t earn me some quiet.
If an elephant wants to relax, he’ll lie, pompous, outside in the sun-baked dune.
Except for your love, there’s no sun in the sky and I don’t know where you are or with whom.
If you thus tormented another poet, he would trade in his love for money and fame.
But nothing sounds as precious to me as the ringing sound of your darling name.
I won’t drink poison, or jump to demise, or pull the trigger to take my own life.

Except for your eyes, no blade can control me, No sharpened knife.
Tomorrow you’ll forget that it was I who crowned you, who burned out the blossoming soul with love and days will form a whirling carnival that will ruffle my manuscripts and lift them above…
Will the dry autumn leaves of my sentences cause you to pause, breathing hard?

Let me pave a path with final tenderness for your footsteps as you depart.

Vladimir Mayakovsky, 26th May 1916, Petrograd. Backbone Flute: Selected Poetry Of Vladimir Mayakovsky. (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform April 18, 2008)

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