Letters to a Roman Friend (of Martial)

Today it is windy and the waves are cresting.
Autumn soon, All changes in the district.
Changing the colors of the touching, Posthuma,
than change the dress with a friend.

Virgo flatters to a certain limit –
on the elbow or knee does not go.
How beautiful is the joyful body:
nor embrace impossible, no changes!


Send you, Posthuma, these books.
In the capital? gently trail? Sleep is not tough?
How is Caesar? What he was doing? All intrigue?
All intrigue, probably, to obzhorstvo.

I sit in his garden, burning lamp.
no girlfriend, or servants, or acquaintances.
Rather weak and the strong of this world –
except in accordance with buzzing insects.


There is a merchant from Asia. Tolkovыm
He was a merchant - Business, but invisible.
Died quickly - fever. on trading
He works here sailed, not for this.

Next to it - Legionnaire, a rough quartz.
He battles empire glorified.
How many times could kill! and he died an old man.
Even here there is no, Posthuma, rules.


Let indeed, Posthuma, chicken is a bird,
but with chicken brains enough grief.
If you fell in the Empire born,
better to live in a remote province near the sea.

And far from Caesar, and vyyugi.
Flam do not need, shakes, rush.
talking about, that all governors - thieves?
But the thief dearer to me, than blood-sucker.


This downpour to wait with you, gether,
I agree, but let's not trade:
take sesterces from covering the body –
still require that the shingles on the roof.

flow, tell? But where is the pool?
To leave a puddle I - did not happen.
Here you will find yourself some husband,
he will proceed on the bedspread.


So we have lived more than half.
As I said before the old slave tavern:
"We, looking, We see only the ruins ".
Sight, of course, very barbaric, but true.

I was in the mountains. Now I potter with a big bouquet.
Ll Find great pitcher, water pour them…
How is it in Libya, My Posthumous, - or where there?
Is is still fighting?


remember, Posthuma, at the governor sister?
thin, but with full legs.
You slept with her yet… Recently I became a priestess.
priestess, Posthuma, and communicates with the gods.

come, popem wine, a bite of bread.
or slivami. Tell me lime.
I will lay in the garden under the clear sky
and tell, both are called constellations.


soon, Posthuma, your friend, loving Addition,
debt pay its longtime subtraction.
Take from under the cushion of savings,
there is little, but enough for the funeral.

Go to crow his mare
courtesans in a house near the city our wall.
Give them a price, for which loved,
so for the same price and mourned.


Green laurel, reaching to tremble.
the door is ajar, dusty little window,
abandoned chair, left box.
the cloth, absorbed the midday sun.

Pont noise behind the black fence of pines.
Someone struggling boat with the wind at Cape.
On the cracked bench - Pliny the Elder.
Drozd schebechet hair in Cypress.

March 1972

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Joseph Brodsky
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