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