Ода революции (Oda revolutsii)

Ода революции




осмеянная батареями,


изъязвленная злословием штыков,

восторженно возношу

над руганью реемой

оды торжественное


О, звериная!

О, детская!

О, копеечная!

О, великая!

Каким названьем тебя еще звали?

Как обернешься еще, двуликая?

Стройной постройкой,

грудой развалин?


пылью угля овеянному,

шахтеру, пробивающему толщи руд,


кадишь благоговейно,

славишь человечий труд.

А завтра


стропила соборовы

тщетно возносит, пощаду моля,—

твоих шестидюймовок тупорылые боровы

взрывают тысячелетия Кремля.


Хрипит в предсмертном рейсе.

Визг сирен придушенно тонок.

Ты шлешь моряков

на тонущий крейсер,


где забытый

мяукал котенок.

А после!

Пьяной толпой орала.

Ус залихватский закручен в форсе.

Прикладами гонишь седых адмиралов

вниз головой

с моста в Гельсингфорсе.

Вчерашние раны лижет и лижет,

и снова вижу вскрытые вены я.

Тебе обывательское

— о, будь ты проклята трижды!—

и мое,


— о, четырежды славься, благословенная! —



Ode an die Revolution
Translated by Hugo Huppert

von Kanonaden verlachte,
schwärenbedeckt vom Bajonettengezänk,
dir zelebriere ich
die trotz Schimpf hochgebrachte
Ode mit dem "Oh!"
wie ein Feiertagsgetränk.
Oh, du animalische!
Oh, du infantile!
Oh, kleinkrämerische!
Oh, gewaltige!
Namen gäbs für dich - viele, viele!
Welchen Ausgang nimmst du noch, doppelgestaltige?
Stehst du als stattliches Bauwerk auf
oder - bloß als Ruinenhauf?
Den Maschinisten,
umweht von Kohlenstaubschwaden,
den Erzhäuer, der sich durchschlägt durch den Berg,
lobpreist du
mit Weihrauch und gar vielen Gnaden,
preisest das einfach menschliche Werk.
Steilt morgen
der Narr in Christo
sein Domdach funeber,
ein um Schonung bettelnder Heils-Demiurg,
so zerschmeißt dein Sechszoll-Rohr,
der stumpfnasige Eber,
das ganze Jahrtausend der Kreml-Burg.
Erstickte Sirene in piepsigen Dosen.
Der Todesfahrt bänglicher Röchellaut.
Aufs sinkende Schlachtschiff
Schickst du Matrosen,
wo vergessen
ein Katerchen miaut.
Da! ...
Menschengewühl und trunkene Choräle.
Den Kerls-Schnurrbart hochgezwirbelt und forsch,
stößt du mit dem Kolben grauhaarige Admiräle
kopfüber über Bord
von der Brücke zu Helsingfors.
Die gestrigen Wunden zu lecken ists Zeit:
da mein Blick den geöffneten Venen begegnet.
Dich verdammt der Spießerschrei:
"Dreimal sei vermaledeit!"
Ich übertäub ihn
mit dem Poetenwort:
"Viermal sei gepriesen und gesegnet!"


  • Country in which the text is set
    Russia Finland Estonia
  • Featured locations

    Helsingfors - Helsinki
    Muhu Sound (Moonsund)
    Isles of Saaremaa (Ösel), Hiiumaa (Dagö) and Muhu (Moon)

  • Impact

    During a period of solitary confinement in Butyrka prison in 1909, Vladimir Mayakovsky began to write poetry, but his poems were confiscated, which he later considered lucky as he characterized them as pathetic and weak. In 1911 he joined the Moscow Art School where he became acquainted with members of the Russian Futurist movement. Mayakovsky became a leading spokesman for the group Gileas (Гилея), and a close friend of David Burlyuk, whom he saw as his mentor. As Mayakovsky confessed his poetry started with acquaintance with a line by Andrey Bely Thrust a pineapple into the sky… (poem ‘In the Mountains’ publ. 1904 in Russian «В небеса запустил ананасом»). Burlyuk introduced him to the poetry of Rimbaud, Verlaine, Verhaeren, and Baudelaire.  But the main influence was that of Walt Whitman’s free verse. Mayakovsky dismissed traditional metres and created his own verse rythms. His polyrhythmic compositions are amalgamated by an integral syntactic intonation preset by the graphic form of the poem, in the beginning by segmenting the verse into several lines written in a column, and since 1923 by using his famous “staircase” metre, which became Mayakovsky’s calling card.

    A Cloud in Trousers (1915) was Mayakovsky's first major poem of appreciable length and it depicted the heated subjects of love, revolution, religion and art, written from the vantage point of a spurned lover. The language of the work was the language of the streets, and Mayakovsky went to considerable lengths to debunk idealistic and romanticized notions of poetry and poets.

    In 1916 he dedicated Mayakovsky the poem The Backbone Flute (1916) to Lilya Brik. The love affair, as well as his impressions of war and socialism, strongly influenced his works of these years. The poem War and the World (1916) addressed the horrors of WWI and Man (1917) is a poem dealing with the anguish of love.

    At the beginning of WWI Mayakovsky was rejected as a volunteer, and during 1915-1917 he worked at the Petrograd Military Automobile School as a draftsman. At the onset of the Bolshevik Revolution, Mayakovsky was in Smolny, Petrograd, where he witnessed the October  events. He started reciting poems such as ‘Left March! For the Red Marines: 1918’ (Левый марш (Матросам), 1918) at naval theatres, with sailors as an audience.

    The poem Ode to Revolution is part of the collection Poems about Revolution (Стихи о революции) and refers to the events of 1917-1918. It was written in autumn 1917, and along with the poem Our March rather renders the general atmosphere of the revolutionary bewilderment than chants the praises of the October revolution, which in many ways continued the mass massacre of the WWI. Bengt Jangfeldt supposes in his book Med livet som insats: berättelser om Vladimir Majakovskij och hans krets that the poet saluted the February revolution, but did not express equal support for the October events. Jangfeldt’s main argument is that Mayakovsky wrote only some dozen poems in the period between autumn 1917 and autumn 1919. This creative paralysis depended upon the poet’s reserved attitude towards the Bolsheviks’ view of culture. (Cf. Jangfeldt 2007, p. 109-110)

    Mayakovsky’s figure is a controversial one due to the fact that he was confabulated and pinnacled by the Soviet state as a man and a revolutionary poet, but his real personality and early lyrics were less appreciated. In spite of criticism and spurns he received in the post-Soviet times his artistic impact and importance within the history of Russian and world poetry remain intact. 

    In the cultural climate of the early Soviet Union, his popularity grew rapidly. From 1922 to 1928, Mayakovsky was a prominent member of the Left Art Front and went on to define his work as 'Communist futurism' (комфут). After moving to Moscow, Mayakovsky worked for the Russian State Telegraph Agency (ROSTA) creating — both graphic and text — satirical Agitprop posters. In 1919, he published his first collection of poems Collected Works 1909-1919 (Все сочиненное Владимиром Маяковским).

  • Balticness

    The poem ‘Ode to Revolution’ has two Baltic references both dealing with the history of the Russian Revolution as well as with the history of Russia’s Baltic Fleet in World War I, and its partaking in the revolutionary events which was quite extensive. During the October Revolution the sailors of the Baltic Fleet (renamed "Naval Forces of the Baltic Sea" in March 1918) were among the most ardent supporters of the Bolsheviks, and later on formed elite among Red military forces. Some ships of the fleet took part in the Russian Civil War, notably by clashing with the British navy operating in the Baltic as part of intervention forces. Over the years, however, the relations of the Baltic Fleet sailors with the Bolshevik regime soured, and they eventually rebelled against the Soviet government in the Kronstadt rebellion in 1921, but were defeated.
    Lines 30-34:
    “Slava” death-rattles in her ultimate trip… (literal transl. by Polina Lisovskaya)
     Slava (“Glory” in English) is a battleship of the Russian Baltic navy fleet. It went down on October 18th (October 5th Old Style) 1917 in Muhu Sound (Moonsund) in the fight with the German navy, who were considering an offensive operation on Petrograd. Slava’s crew fought heroically till the ship, already set on fire by the German artillery shells, was detonated and sank blocking the Sound and preventing the Germans from continuing further to Petrograd. According to witnesses the Russian seamen fought enthusiastically, the majority of them being quite young and from 1915 conscription.
    All the above happened in the course of the First World War. Operation Albion, the German land and naval operation in September–October 1917, aimed to invade and occupy the  islands of Saaremaa (Ösel), Hiiumaa (Dagö) and Muhu (Moon), then part of the Russian Republic. The land campaign opened with landings at Tagalaht Bay, Saaremaa, on October 11th  1917, after extensive naval activity to clear mines and subdue coastal artillery batteries, and the island was secured by October 16th . The Russian Army evacuated Muhu on October 18th.
    After two failed attempts, the Germans managed to land on Hiiumaa on the 19th and captured the island on the following day. The Russian Baltic Fleet had to withdraw from Muhu Sound (Battle of Moon Sound), but the Northern part of the Sound remained under control of the Russians. The Germans claimed 20 000 prisoners and 100 guns captured during Operation Albion from 12 October. On the other hand only two Russian ships sank compared to 26 German ships that were sunk and 25 that were heavily damaged.
    At the beginning of WWI the islands were of little importance to either Imperial Russia or Germany. However after the revolutionary turmoil in Russia during 1917, the German high command believed capturing the islands would outflank Russian defences and lay St. Petersburg vulnerable to attack.
    Lines 41-43:
    In Helsingfors you use buttstocks to chase away and purl grey-haired admirals… (literal transl. by Polina Lisovskaya) 
    Probably refers to a revolt raised in Helsingfors (Helsinki) by seamen of the Russian navy fleet on the eve of Bolshevik revolution in October 1917 aimed against naval officership. Along with Kronshtadt one of the two head bases of the Russian Baltic Fleet was in Helsingfors. Already in the course of the February Revolution of 1917 leftist moods spread very actively among the seamen, which led to the occurrence of mob law events, when several hundreds of navy officers were executed.                                                 
                                                                                                               Polina Lisovskaya

  • Bibliographic information

    "Пламя", П. 1918., № 27, 7 ноября; "Все сочиненное"; "13 лет работы", т. I;"Стихи о революции", 1-е и 2-е изд.; "Избранный Маяковский"; "Американцам для памяти"; Сочинения, т. II.

    Journal Plamya, Petrograd, 1918. No. 27- November 7th

    also in: Collected Works 1909-1919, Petrograd: State Printing Works no. 18, 1919. V.I


  • Translations
    Language Year Translator
    German 1966 Hugo Huppert
  • Year of first publication
  • Place of first publication
    Petrograd (St. Petersburg)