Nika Turbina…famous at 8, gone before 30

picListening to Nika Turbina recite her poetry can be a little frightening. Fists clenched before her, her gaze raised to some inspiration in the middle distance, she declaims in a voice that seems preternaturally large for her slim, pubescent body.

Heavy are my verses—
Stones uphill.
I will carry them up to the crag,
The resting place.
I will fall face down in the weeds,
Tears will not do.
I will rend my strophe—
The verse will burst out crying.
Pain cuts into my palm—
The day’s bitter taste turns
All to words.

Weighty stuff, especially considering that the poet wrote those lines when she was only 8 years old. “Poetry has no age,” declares the pretty, serious-minded Turbina. “I write for all people.” Turbina published her first book, First Draft, with an introduction by Soviet super-bard Yevgeny Yevtushenko, in 1984, and an LP of her recitations has sold 30,000 copies in the Soviet Union. Translations of First Draft have been published in France and Italy, and a British edition is in the works. The book has won Italy’s Golden Lion of Venice for poetry.



I am like a broken doll,
In my heart they’ve forgotten
To put a heart.
And left unwanted
In the gloomy corner.
I am like a broken doll,
Once I heard in the morning
A dream whispered quietly to me
“Dream, my dear, for long, long.
Years will pass,
And when you wake up,
People will want again
To take you in their arms,
Tuck you in and simply play,
And your heart will resume beating…”
It is just scaring to wait.

1983 – 9y.o.

The day is that far

The day is that far,
Like the night,
In a thunderstorm
when eyes
cannot see
the raindrops,
but catch them
with lips
on the porch of the house.
Like hands,
which cannot
find walls in the dark
And stumble into the doors on the day
That is so far…

1982 – 8y.o.

Fourteen Teardrops

Fourteen teardrops
are on your cheek.
Fourteen raindrops
on the wet glass.
Guess, you will not come-
guess or not
You will turn to the door,
Farewell, my expectations,
our hands cannot be parted.
I do not like parting,
the circle of worry.
And there will be pain after the meeting,
which is destined not to happen.
Fourteen teardrops
you should not forget.

1982 – 8y.o.

I like the night for loneliness

I like the night for loneliness,
When with it alone
I speak of what
my destiny wishes
and does not.
I may think of the impossible,
there is no end to the night.
And I may believe in
happy days.
And I may cry endlessly.
There is no need to listen to reproachful words.
The stare of troubled eyes
There is no need to hide
behind a hand,
when it gets dark.

1982 – 8y.o.


I’ll shield the heaviness of the day with my shoulder
and I’ll leave you a nightingale.
and I’ll leave you only the dark,
how else can I help you?
And if you wish, I’ll give my heart –
Let my fate be shared.
Even time will die before morning.
In a hurry, instead of my heart
you took a watch.
Day has arrived.
Night, do not look for him.

1983 – 9y.o.

I want the good

How often
I catch squinting glances,
And sharp words
like arrows
pierce me.
I am asking you – listen!
You should not
kill in me
the minutes
of a child’s dreams.
My day,
I so much want kindness
for everyone,
And even to those
who aim
at me.

1982 – 8y.o.

I fooled you

I fooled you,
That a moment can be eternity.
That with the birds’ leaving
finishes the warmth
And forgotten by me a long time ago
magical night’s spells,
with joy so near –
If you touch it by chance,
your hand
will lift the earthy globe
Have I fooled you?
I gave you a secret
which is known
to me alone.

1983 – 9y.o.


Перевели стихи на языки чужие,
Так переходят улицу слепые…
Им кажется, что, ощупью идя,
Они спасают от беды себя.
Чужие языки, слепые строки…
Им нужен проводник. Иначе нет дороги.


Трещину в стенке
Безумным Винсентом.
Гениальность – позор?
Гениальность бесценна,
Чудачества вздор.
Распрямите полотна,
Мозгом растопленным,
Его и моим мозгом
Поэма великая


Три кровавые слезы, три тюльпана…
Молча женщина сидит. От дурмана
Закружилась голова, сжалось сердце –
Три тюльпана получила ты в наследство…
Только ветер прошумел – быть им ложью.
Но глаза твои кричат – “Быть не может!”
Три кровавые слезы – облетели.
Молча женщина сидит. Им – не веря.

Захватив запястьем белый вырез
У корней окрашенных волос,
Ты елозишь, как огонь в камине,
На диване из зелёных слёз.
Мама, мама, колыбель сатина
Рыжего, как чёлка на глазах.
Обними покрепче Августина –
Со святыми легче в небесах.

Это стихотворение написано в 1981 году, когда Нике было 7 лет и именно так через окно она ушла, когда ей было 27.
This poem was written when Nika was 7 years old and that’s how she left this life, when she was 27.

Дождь, ночь, разбитое окно.
И осколки стекла
Застряли в воздухе,
Как листья,
Не подхваченные ветром.
Вдруг – звон…
Точно так же
Обрывается жизнь человека.


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