I had a goal of learning my favorite poem “Zodiac’s dimming every feature” by Nikolay Zabolotsky by heart to tell to my kids before sleep. So I made a cheat sheet with illustrations. I was lucky to find an amazing translation of this poem to English by Dmitry Yampolsky.

Nikolai Zabolotsky
Zodiac’s dimming, every feature
Over pastures of the world.
There’s a sleeping Canine creature,
There’s a dozing Sparrow bird.
Healthy-bottomed mermaids scatter,
Float directly heaven-bound,
Hands like branches, only fatter,
Breasts like turnips, strong and round.
A witch on a triangle climbs,
And becomes a puff of smoke.
With a forest demon’s wives,
Deadman dances the cakewalk.
Following in pale choir,
Warlocks give the Fly a chase,
And beside a hill and higher,
Stands the moon’s unchanging face.

Zodiac’s fading, every feature
Covers buildings of the town.
There’s a sleeping Canine creature,
Flounder fish who’s lying down.
Watchman’s rattle tap-tap-tap,
Spider being takes a nap,
Sleeps, the Cow, the Fly is sleeping,
Over land, the moon is creeping.
Giant bowl above the land,
Full of water, which was spilled.

Demon puts a log in hand,
From his fuzzy-flurry beard.
With a little ankle showing,
In a cloud, a siren sits,
While a cannibal is gnawing
On a gentle’s naughty bits.

All is mixed in shared ball,
And in each direction whiz,
Apes and British, one and all,
Witches, corpses, fleas.

Candidate of bygone time,
Leader of the newer years,
Freaks you list – O mind of mine! –
Nothing more than thoughts and fears.
Raving thoughts, imaginations,
Only dreams, hallucinations,
Unforgiving tribulations,
None of which in life appears.

High on earth here we reside.
Late, so late. It’s time to sleep.
Poor warrior, you, my mind,
Why not peace till morning keep?
What are worries, yours and mine?
Day has passed and you and I,
Half divinities, half swine,
Sleeping near a newer time,
On its very doorstep lie.

Watchman’s rattle tap-tap-tap,
Spider being takes a nap,
Sleeps, the Cow, the Fly is sleeping,
Over land the moon is creeping.
Giant bowl above the land,
Full of water, which was spilled.
Snoozes the Potato plant.
You as well to sleep should yield.

1929

Close Menu