“Now About Those…” by Bella Akhmadulina, “the Best of the Living Poetesses” (Joseph Brodsky)

Vitas- reads a poem

Such a comment I got last night from Kseniya and today I am putting  it into my post. Here it is a portrait of Bella Akhmadulina.                                                                                                                                            portraitofakhmadulina

Dear Valentina! First I would like to thank you for your warm reception, for your hospitality and openness. For that energy and fullness of the joy of living which emanates from you, rarely one can meet such a person who is so fond of life, enjoys to the fullest and is not shy to express it in the most delicious and candid feelings! Well, now I would like to go to the main topic. I got very glad and surprised that on your web site there is “Reading and Discussion Club”. I am a big fan of the creations of great Russian poetesses Anna Akhmatova, Marina Tsvetaeva, Bella Akhmadulina, Veronica Tushnova and many others. I am not sure why but as always as was close to me “feminine” poetry – it seems to me – this one is more penetrating and sincere. I have one my favorite poem by B. Akhmadulina “Now about those…”. For a long-long time I could not understand whom she was writing about, perhaps there was not enough life experience, maybe not enough knowledge…But later, I have grasped about WHOM she was composing… And I became both happy and disappointed with myself why I could not understand it earlier. Surely you know this poem but I will quote it for you and your readers:

My Translation from Russian:

Now about those,

Whose children’s portraits,

Are hanging on the walls,

And gazing strangely at us,

As girls look at poetry conscripts.

Oh Horror Monsters!

With lace and cow’s lip,

Where everything’s not clear,

Don’t believe them,

They try to slip.

Away. Even if they don’t want,

They still pretend playing love games,

So a simpleton were caught and trapped,

“I am afraid”, as a coquette says,

A Darkness mistress and of flames.

Man incomparable!

Share the hell with her,

Torture, abandon, reproach yourself,

How foolish you are, and stern,

To tantalize her, whom else?

Your betrayal of her,

As if the honey in her ears,

Caressing her and all your male gist,

Would be spoken around,

In dirty gossip sound for years.

Another morning came out,

The cover of the gloomy night,

Who was a man once that finds out,

How difficult it is some time,

To wake up and neglect.

Her who is asleep,

Now flying in the paradise,

Who does not care about your sin,

Your duty, work, your family,

Oh Holy Christ!

It is getting time,

To go as shameful as beforehand,

To retreat into your own line,

Alone face to face a land,

Of your destiny.

Those whom I am speaking about,

Start their day quite otherwise,

The dawn breaks the brains’ pulse,

As if the eyes of lynx follow you around,

Questioning: “Why?”

She stares bravely!,

Fell in love in the Today!

Yesterday was not her wisdom,

You are not guilty. Her soul is gay,

Long live freedom!

She cares about the momentary sound,

Of her – it’s all the same,

Of pain. The highest level of wound,

Is beyond your understanding, I claim,

In all ages’ domain.

You tortured women,

You were brave and free,

Last night you joked, today oh, Amen,

You remember nee,

And so can be forgotten, thee.

In October, in Boldin Alley,

Gone faraway without tears,-

Freer as men, gentler as women,

To pay back for both and Alas!

For self.

I hope that you enjoyed this magnificent creation, and for doing my “lyrical” comments more interesting I would like to ask: And what about you, whom you think she is writing about?

No doubt that I will receive from you an immediate answer which I can read again on your wonderful web site. I beg your pardon for a long message-you need to make a big translation.

With respect,


Eugene gives big regards to You and Janko.

My answer:

Dear Ksenia,

Whom is the poetess writing about?  First of all, of what I have read these words are about shallow human relationships, which are devoid of any real depth of feelings, they are like fair weather relationships. When the storms of life hit, the people become awaken to the truth and the illusion gives way to a stark reality. Bella Akhmadulina’s poetry describes these  phenomena and the consequences of them, her solution of this event is getaway into  the poetry and reevaluate where one stands in this relationships, if  it is real, build on it, if  it is false, then leave. The choice is up to each person based on real true understanding of oneself and the other person. Irregardless you are a man or a woman, as for a poet, he goes away into his domain-poetry, Boldin Pushkin Fall, fruitful not only for Pushkin and the other poets or potesses too…                                                                    Ya toboyu zhivu…poslushayte obyazatelno


  1. I am looking for good male voice(s), better bariton, but bass and/or tenar could do probably also. The voice should belong to the person with musical and computer’s literacy, and the desire to record with me. These recordings could be conducted competely on line. The reight person would be needing a computer with Widows XT or higher and two small programs-sound editor and sound recorder, which summary price is about $30. Contracts can be signed on line also. My CD-s and previews to them could be found on line, see my previous comment. I have a lot of material to record together, as before and by now I was able to record only my own voice. Anyhow, if interested contact me. I would, certainly, appreciate it. I actually have even the entire comic opera-“New Adventures of Alice”, which is waiting to be recorded, and a lot of smaller pieces, duet, solos for male voice, etc. Orchestration and performance of different instruments together and solo are solved by me problem(s), as my CD-s clearly show.
    Anna Epelbaum

  2. Dear Anna,
    Thank you very much for your attention to my site. We both like Anna Akhmadulina’s poetry. And it is great. There still exist people like you who are inspired by belle arts.
    Sincerely yours

  3. Dear Anna,
    Thanks a lot for a business proposal to me, but unfortunately I do not know anybody of beautiful male voice(s) who can participate in your work. I wish you personally good luck in performing arts and all the best,
    Sincerely yours,

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