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Question
Dear Maria,

A verse from Bulat Okudzhava:
Из о́кон ко́рочкой несёт поджа́ристой,
за занаве́сками -- мельканье рук.
Здесь остановки нет, а мне -- пожалуйста:
шофёр в автобусе -- мой лучший друг.

I can't understand the first two lines at all please could you explain them and give a literal translation?

Have I put the accents in the right place, please?

Best wishes, and many thanks,

Simon

Answer
Hello, Simon

The accents are correct. Word for word translation can make it clear.


Из from
Окон windows
Корочкой crust
Несет smells
Поджаристой roasted
За behind
Занавесками blinds (curtains)
Мельканье twinkling
Рук of hands


Нести - apart from the meaning "to carry" means to puff or even reek. In most contexts if you use нести for smell, it has negative connotation. In this case it simply means very intense smell, and the connotation is positive.
Корочка is the diminutive form of корка, and if we say корочка and if we say поджаристая корочка, the first thing that comes to mind is traditional Russian rye bread - you can google черный хлеб and see the photos of rectangular loafs with nearly black crust. In the Soviet times rye bread was associated with home, childhood, warmness, for people who have survived the war, it was also the symbol of all that they had had to go through.

Twinkling of hands behind the blinds - imagine an apartment block or maybe a cottage. in Russia the first floor, which is also the ground floor, is residential and normally some windows face the street, so that passers by can see what's going on inside the first-floor rooms. Most people who live on the first and second floors put thick curtains on their windows, however at night when it is dark outside, one can clearly see the outlines of hands, heads and whatever stands between the light and the window.  This poem is very emotional, that's why such phrases are like brush strokes - several strokes and you don't need a detailed image, your mind does all the job of painting it. The poet just needs to find the right triggers, the right key words to wake up the associations in your mind.
When I read it, I can see and feel the warmth of a summer night, when people return home from work, and they pass by other houses and see and feel other people coming home.

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Maria Kuruskina

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