2 Poems by Liliya Gazizova

The Streets of Kazan

I was walking along Kirov’s Street
Crossing the garden,
Passing by the veterinarian clinic.
I was sad opening the door of the music school.
I had my “four with minus”1 for my major there.
Sometimes Polina Semenovna was so wicked – 
She didn’t like my hands,
They were too tense, she said.
I was squeezing the fiddlestick too tightly.
Going back home
I loved my life,
And Atlases who held the Earth. 

I was walking along Tuqay Street…
There was a school,
It is still there.
My little sister was there
Without bad marks.
She often fell ill
And parents never scolded her.
Sometimes I took her from school
But not very often.
Streetcars were driving along Tuqay street,
And ice-cream was sold at the stops.
I bought four:
Two for my sister and two for myself.
We were walking home discussing passers-by.
Once she asked me:  ‘You are beautiful,
Why not everyone turns his head on you?’
I don’t remember my reply. 
I was pleased.
I am smiling now. 
It is amazing 
How everything in my city 
Is connected with Tuqay – 
And old age some day. 

1 According to the Russian system of grades at school, “four” is good, “three” is satisfactory. “Four with minus” is in between. 

2 Gabdulla Tuqay (1886 – 1913) was an outstanding Tatar poet, critic, publicist and translator. 

Sad Fairy Tales

There will be Tatar decorations,
Cold skies of Stockholm,
Winding stairs up to the third floor
Of the four-storey building.
That is very important!
Johnny, swimming in the pool for hours,
A bright-colored book of Arthur Rimbaud
On the edge of the table on the right.
The table is covered by brown leather.
A lot of snow, a lot of love,
And sad Lindgren’s fairy tales…

There won’t be any reason
For my hysterics in this book,
Or a joyful insomnia,
Or the eyes passing by me
And boring discretion.

This book will be without you…


Liliya Gazizova is a Russian poet of Tatar origin, «one of the most noted authors of her generation» (Wikipedia). She was born in Kazan, Russia, graduated from the Kazan Medical Institute, and Moscow M. Gorky’s Literature Institute (1996). She is a member of the International Pen Club (Pen-Moscow). Gazizova is the author of fifteen volumes of poetry, published in Russia, Europe and USA. Gazizova’s poems were translated into several Europen languages and published in number of anthologies. Liliya Gazizova is the editor of the international magazine “Interpoesia”. She teaches Russian literature at Ergies University (Kayseri, Turkey). Recently she lives in Turkey.

Translated from Russian by Olga Karasik-Updike who is a professor at the Higher School of Economics and the Kazan State University. She graduated from Kazan State Pedagogical University. She is a Doctor of Philology. She lives in Newbury, Massachusetts.

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