Back cover of Mayakovsky’s Conversation with the Finance Inspector about Poetry, designed by Aleksandr Rodchenko and first published in 1926 (a copy of the book is held by the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra).
Mayakovsky’s “Past One O’Clock,” a poem found among the poet’s papers after his suicide in 1930 (translation by Max Hayward and George Reavey):
Past one o’clock. You must have gone to bed.
The Milky Way streams silver through the night.
I’m in no hurry; with lightning telegrams
I have no cause to wake or trouble you.
And, as they say, the incident is closed.
Love’s boat has smashed against the daily grind.
Now you and I are quits. Why bother then
To balance mutual sorrows, pains, and hurts.
Behold what quiet settles on the world.
Night wraps the sky in tribute from the stars.
In hours like these, one rises to address
The ages, history, and all creation.