Some centuries separate us from that time when the great poet, the reformer of Turkmen literary language Mahtumkuli lived and created. Scientists continue to study his life and creativity, and ahead there are many more unopened pages…
From literary sources we know, how Europe opened for itself the Turkmen poet. The first data on Mahtumkuli Fragy began to appear there in the middle of XIX century. In London the Polish writer and scientist L. Borejko Chodźkohad published in English a short biographical reference about Mahtumkuli and its three poems. The Hungarian orientalist, the traveller, the professor of the Budapest University Á.Vámbéryin 1879 published 31 poems and 9 fragments from his works in the Arabian script and also translated them into German.
In 1872 for the first time there appeared the Russian translation of two poems of Mahtumkuli. F.Bakulin who visited Gurgen was the translator. This interlinear translation was the first attempt of transfer of verses of Mahtumkuli in Russian.
The study of creativity of Mahtumkuli in the XX century became fruitful. His invaluable works were studied in Russia by orientalists, historians N.A.Ostroumov, A.N.Samoilovich, E.E.Bertels and others.
Along with Turkmen scientists, academicians and professors B.Karryev, M.Kosaev, Z.Muhammedova, Arseny Tarkovsky, famous translator, the brilliant master of poetic transfer also brought the big contribution to the study of creativity of Mahtumkuli. By the good translator the poet as though was born anew in other language. Many poems of Mahtumkuli in Russian were presented to us by Tarkovsky.
Good and evil
To the people – force, peace, conversation,
The family hearths warm;
To the Dzhigit – fight and victory,
Damask steel and strong saddle.
Lie give to all ready
To worldly rumour. It is not necessary words
Neither angry, nor malicious:
My people hate evil ….
– A.Tarkovsky somehow told me that happiness for him is to sit in an ice bath in the heated Ashgabat hotel and so that the entire floor was covered by melons, and from time to time driving to oneself one more, to cut and eat…, – other poet and translator Michael Sinelnikov remembered. – In ears his uneasy voice reading verses of Mahtumkuli, written on the death of the father sounds:
Where is the imam? I stand, as an empty mosque.
Where is the moon? To heavens it is not allowed to brighten up.
From the autumn of 1946 to June of 1947, Tarkovsky with his wife lived in Ashgabat where he translated works of Mahtumkuli. This work – Tarkovsky’s main creation, it resolutely surpasses all the rest. The success of the translator in 1971 was noted by the State award of Turkmenistan named after Mahtumkuli.
– He enjoyed very much his work – did hundred lines a day. And if he could do it at once, he went to eat melons and left a poem, let even it came to an end to the hundred first. And if it was impossible, he would sit all night long…, – his wife Tatyana Alekseyevna remembered.
After Tarkovsky’s arrival in Moscow his translation was taken by A.Fadeyev who after perusal suggested them to publish at once in two publishing houses. Thus, works of Mahtumkuli, before little-known to the Russian reader, at once were published.
Surprisingly, but there happened a merge of souls of poets of different nationalities, poets whom divide a century. We are obliged to Tarkovsky for the birth of wonderful poems of Mahtumkuli in Russian. Here is only a fragment of one of them:
Has changed my happiness …
Has changed my happiness, the painful world!
It is impossible to get off the back your burdensome oppression.
There are no medicines for me; I am sad and sire.
For by your trace my reason goes.
In a white shroud my body will be put on,
You on a bowl of scales have put our life.
I, a madman, from your hands have accepted a drink.
What do you do? The blood turns into medicine
Each my thought is executed by evil;
I cannot fly up – you cut a wing;
Gold treasury of mine left in the earth …
The frail world, I do not wish yours generosity!
Truly the poetry of Mahtumkuli can be compared to an inexhaustible literary spring, whence and until now our contemporaries from many countries of the world derive inspiration.