But Could You?

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But Could You?  (1913) 
by Vladimir Mayakovsky, translated by Dmitri Smirnov
First printed in March 1913 in the almanac “Trebnik troikh” (“The Breviary of Three”).

But Could You?

I blurred at once the map of humdrum,
by splashing colours like a potion;
I showed upon the dish of jelly
the slanted cheekbones of the ocean.

Upon the scales of metal fishes
I read the new lips’ attitude.
But could you
now
perform a nocturne
Just playing on a drainpipe flute?

<1913>

The note on the translation:

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