Anatoly Ryassov «Voices» (Extracts from «The Raw Word»)

Moan Noah!
Tall toll
That’s It

Translated by the author


Tulle-lip parades through
the crowing clowns,
somewhile crowns them,
somewhile crawls into crowds,
acid and anxious.
and deep down under
he buries them.


Tramping throne,
Drowned in a throng,
Like a bell they tolled,
Like a spit in salt.
Like an ashen flash.
Warming swarm.
Creeping lump.
Nip in the nub.
No more fulminate.
I pray? Afraid?
Writhe in pain?
No, jubilate.
Smile out of shape.
I spilled the flesh spelled.
And then stumbled.
Brows and napes gault.
I’d go back to the vault.


cow-banes stare
just as ill cluck.
though hubbub:
“caw!” jaw-to-jaw.

they flatter, chatter
stick with a flame,
curse the hammer claws,
measure out gags,
in the arcs they croak,
perish in game,
brake out hail applause,
nest chapeau and flags.

echo fee faw fum
guffaw ahh!
thinned out it all.
black stag crow.

Crow’s work—
Rewash shower.
Ogre’s borough
Borrows a gore.
Lord’s lower world.
The bowled owl
Tells a tall tale.
Crow’s faith.

Moan Noah!

The land wiped out
by the rain
from the map,
along with the world.
Moan Noah!


the sky would catch a haze for noon,
and the word would flat the face too soon.
crowds of fools in the bull’s eye drowned.
I wish to grind the heel into the sound.

jump up gudgeon! whatcha gapin’ at?
pucks are husking the hush-hush shafts
stripping chinks of awls,
corking guts in a sack.
kersplat! mind you
mumble sharp!

black gnats on the laps.
like a spidey on a knap,
make rank? moan? prep?
sneezing and squeezing,
peenging clammed up.
rock-rock, walk-stalk.

Thus spoke the apologuest.
Ribble-rabble, not the torah-rent.


rolls the word.
drags the muddy flags,
crumbs of blood
on ice.
sneaking a scribble,
still writing.
All poems leafed through the evening.
And is glad.
No, not glad.
Here’s the other.
Again the twain.
drink milk,
yes, whisht.
fished out.


hammered out
by the cud-gel.
On the floor
is splashed
the soft plush


The yellow wadding will fall down,
the springs and the grey buttons,
downpours will weed the small town,
ejecting the crater gutter.

in kitbags’
the picklocks
will mumble.
and the snipped snaps
in the dust
will be humbled.


A, Z
Cause it.
Y, B
May be.
Full cup.
Count up
To two.
Rhyme flew.


And the scourge is misting,
Swaddles snow babble,
And the ice’s insisting
On blue skimble-skamble.

Melt away my tears
With a drip-drop feeling,
Jingle-jangle peals,
I hear a muffled trilling.

Conquered by a heartsore
Within a rusted evening,
Bullets guess I lost more
Than just a wicked screaming.

On the snow creeping,
Who’s like an eyeless starwort?
What’s cached in his weeping?
What a trace in his word?


Work with the worth
or whack up the word.
What is worse?
Pause, cause,
Beat the beet with the bows.

Tall Toll

bloated rot gave way,
dried-up crone ashtray,
images avoid the mind,
lurched, sad, unkind.

dozy years, tall toll,
pole rubs hurly-burly,
deep-toned bell-tongue
is laughing too early.

rang out long-run voice
leaping to shatters’ shadows.
dusty pools will rejoice
in snow prophetic letters.

at times barks the line squall,
making the sky glass rattle
pale poles pall St. Paul
big hat, but no cattle.


Rasp out twenty scourges near the balding head chink, over the shield-arm (yikes!) is a dreary Tsushima hare. If siskin is dock-tailed, pincers jingle to the dragoman that peepers do not feat her, we’ll give a pick to book-wise howadji for the sense. If you wish shell-shock, climb down the cheek to the snout. The weaselly reaper is scrupping, because clucking June footstep captured the cats. That intercalate cragged with jack, gzeled on over-the-chick viand. The quirky snorted foolishly, cackling cruelly (neocretious knothole!), sotto voce on ziegel. “Oh now you” utters farthermore, wait a shake esteeming for the frog-pecker, stinging chancre skins. The fairies, the Gipsies, whence come the rolled, you forge? And what about the circus cirrals? The egg will CLIP-CLOP ON THE SKIN PUSHED OFF, sew it up for the nonce sen, predicting thе yawn. And if who-whoop, snuggling up to the hill, hark! Hoo, boy! Firesquint has burned you queerfished fishtalker, boomingly till that? The horn is stingy, dock-tailed, the chagrinner. And meanwhile bash, will take a step to the aspic. O, you, the crookedness! Oh, Punchballing sneaky, for long-run shield the river bow-wows, breakages Lot dregs.

The voice, I hear it again, or just seem to, no, more than one, lots of ’em, the mist of voices, these and those, interrupting each other, bellowing out something, murmuring, hissing, babbling, sputtering, sticky, beseeching, chiding, receding, approaching, scolding, reproaching, preaching, teaching, screaming, not that again, there’s nothing more frightful than that voice crowd, overwhelming heaps, unbearable deafening hum, nothing more chilling, not that again, not that roaring, not that again, how to stop them, one must immediately stop them, so that they don’t break inside, or are they already swarming in my skull, no, it can’t be true, I can’t stand it,

lime or mile?
lire or rile?
halt or lath?
plums or slump?

and then alone, suddenly, abruptly, without warning, supposedly alone, as if they have tailed away, all at once, and again only one voice, it seems I hear it, I believe it’s speaking, certainly, I clearly hear every phrase, but do not manage to get the sense of what’s pronounced, writing down the grasped words by the skin of my teeth, and I write, hopefully in the future I’ll have enough time to become absorbed by this text, but there’s no time now, there’s only the obligation to write it down, and because there’s not much space left in the copy-book, I need to resort to cunning, for instance to scrabble between the lines or cut some words, sometimes to overwrite what’s already been written, by the way, more and more so.

Chuck on the ear, beseech, quench, where from shchi? Citrons, short chicories. Hammer, glad to lend, two liters of vatic rye. Greek crap. Ch-ch, walnut mite. Roast the crisps, sporter, roast the ears, the snuffed arms barm. Tee-hee, I’ll bite your mane! Bah, ambitions! In the circle I’ll take revenge, at the moment I’ll steal the silk sleek, bother the booklet. At the piercer purlieu, the faces will protect themselves, oh, their horse nails, and while one step, beseeching three figs. Waited for. Shaggy gawk tags to the jack pike, groped the numbers, the prick. Needled it in the ghties, way back when. Overdrives twenty three, beandrowns, songster. Ecce Job. Reive away those who sew! Hoot, Vamlory! Hoo! Kick the avengeful agitation! Hush, the squint roach!



The scythe struck a stone,
The dog bites hands thrown,
А drop hollowed out, in a crowd,
Fair play turnabout.


Clapper word I hold,
miss miles, nag and scold,
tremble on the floor
run is no sore
or row-de-dow.
last line widow.
hollowed shallow.
owe a woe. awol.
wash down the gall,
and in a word once more
clapnet valet, oh.
clap-clap. go-go.
words chap.
clapnet valet.
clap trap net.


pine hoar-rime—
glazed rain wine,
sold silent silver
vers libre.
and words drag on, swan song,
tripped tongues plod along,
rebel, relent, repent,
yes, slimed mimes—
mine lines.


tick-tock, says the clock,
the scarlet nagnag bounds.
no father beside each other,
tack splinters in the palms.

That’s It

Recorded voice. Recorded voice. Organized, erased. Organized or erased? More likely erased.

Lime is a flam tree. Birch is blue. Pine is poorly. Oak is approaching. Larch is immature. Quaking asp is stinking and grasping. Spruce is voracious. Palm is fallen. All bushes strike for hollowness, herbs hold out for fragmentariness.

No sorrow for them. No sorrow at all. Much more sorrow for them. Much more sorrow for them.

Certainly, but in a different way. I can’t explain it. I shall not explain it. I’m under no obligation to explain it.

in the eye,
on the fly.
in the clouds,
bowed and plowed,
weeping loud.
chatter and crackle,
a poet passed a way.
a poet lived a line.

Erased voice. But also organized. But more precise.

Recorded voice. Organized and at the same time erased. That’s it.



Poor bell rebelled in the sky,
fortune-yeller cried for war.
Tolled again as a telltale sigh,
On the snow the death knell swore.

Stone cold hawk in an empty hand
Saw no lure in the handsaw eye.

Poor bell quelled the battle-cry,
Brought the bird-call into the fold.
The voice ran away far from eye,
Till the steam in the throat got cold.

Stone cold hawk in an empty hand
Saw no lure in the handsaw eye.


Lay down your crown,
Go quick, my son.
And build the jail
Of pain and veil.
Lock up the thrill,
In mist be still.
In rames and leaves
Shelter your wings.
Before you cry
Just close your eye.
The thorn in front
Take as a haunt.