In 2016 the greatest Tatar poet Gabdulla Tuqay turns 130

In 2016 the greatest Tatar poet Gabdulla Tuqay turns 130!




Past Kazan into the country

There’s a village called Kurlai.

In that village even hens cluck.

God alone could tell you why.


Even though I was not born there,

For a while it was my home.

There in spring I tilled and harrowed,

In the autumn reaped the loam.


I recall in all directions

Lay the backwood’s broad delight.

Grasslands there of glossy velvet

Dazzled everybody’s sight.

And is the village large? O no!

It’s just a hamlet in a ring.

All its daily drinking water

Comes from one, lone tiny spring.


Neither cold nor hot, its water

Mild and soft will ever please;

At times it rains, at times it snows,

And sometimes comes a gentle breeze


Strawberries red and raspberries redder

Thrive in plenty in the woods.

In a trice you’ll fill your bucket

Brim-full with these earthy goods.

Marvelously lined in rows

Stand pines and fir-trees, warriors proud;

Amidst their roots I used to lie

While gazing at a passing cloud.


Under birches, under limes grow

Sorrel, mushrooms in a glade;

Lovely flowers bloom and flourish

In the dappled light and shade.


Red and scarlet, blue and yellow

Blossoming in sunlit bowers;

All the world in fragrant from

The heady perfume of those flowers.


Butterflies which love the blooms

Return to find out now and then

How they fare; then flit and flutter,

Off once more and back again.


All at once the birds of Allah

Fill the woods with their sweet song

Ah, those tunes ! They tear my heart-string;

Up into the sky they throng.


Bird-song outstrips dancing parties,

Orchestras and sidewalk clubs;

Circuses, theatres, concerts –

All replaced by trees and shrubs.

Like the ocean, vast and boundless

Stretch the woodlands in their breadth;

Like the hordes of Chingiz Khan

No limit to their awesome depth.


In an instant old men’s stories

Are forgotten; names, domains –

All those glories of the past!

At present nothing much remains


Then the curtain slowly rises

And our preaent lot we see.

Alas! Alas! What happened to us?

Slaves of God we too must be.


I’ve talked a little of the summer,

Autumn, winter – that’s my style.

What of girls red-cheeked and black-eyed?

Dusky brows can wait a while!


I’ll forgot my recollections

Of the Plough-Day, Harvest-Day.

If I mused too long on those things,

I should surely lose my way.

But wait! I dwell on pleasant things

And I may easily go astray.

How could I forget the title

Of this poem is Shuraleh?


You will have the tale , my reader.

Have some patience. Be so kind.

When I think about my village,

I quite often lose my mind.

You might guess that in those thickets

Many birds and beasts reside:

Bears and wolves, and then the fox

For villainy known far and wide.


Hare and squirrel, moose and mink

And other sorts are often met

By the huntsman who dares roam

The wide, broad woodland with his net.

In those woods, so thick and gloomy

There live demons – so they say:

Ghostly forms like albasti

And ub’r and even shuraleh!


This is the most likely reason

Why those woods are broad and wide.

In this world devised by God

Can any wonder be denied?


Translated by Ravil Bukharaev