Rysbekova

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Rysbekova
by Abay Qunanbayuli, translated by Olga Shartse

Not for amusement do I write my verse,
Nor do I stuff it full of silly words.
It's for the young I write, for those
Whose hearing is acute, whose senses are alert.
Men who have vision and are quick to give response
Will understand the message in my verse.

Approach my poems with an open mind,
And in them many answers you will find,
Though you mayn't grasp them fully the first time
Not having heard such words before in rhyme.
How strange! When people fail your meaning to divine
They instantly demand to hear a different kind!

To Ali-azret I don't sing a hymn,
Nor to a beauty with a "golden chin".
I don't preach death nor voice forebodings grim,
I do not teach the young jigits to sin
Or honour to forget. My love for men is genuine,
My one ambition is their confidence to win.

Of highwaymen are bred those liars bold,
Those windbags, idlers, born into the fold.
They have no home, no heards, no sense, no soul,
For what they really are they're known to all.
I'd rather have my voice forever silent fall
Than by such people be admired and extolled.

My brother songsters, listen, I implore,
Do not be tempted in your poems ever more
By empty words you will yourselves deplore.
You'll dissipate your talent, never to restore,
And tell me, are not you already bored
With braggarts, woman chasers, and their lore?

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.