I'm trying to translate Okudzhava's song "Я вновь повстречался с Надеждой"

My question refers to the very end of this verse:

Когда бы любовь и надежду связать воедино,
какая бы, трудно поверить, возникла картина!
Какие бы нас миновали напрасные муки,
и только прекрасные муки глядели б с чела...

I did some research on "глядеть с чела" but it does not seem to be a common expression.

I could imagine something like "frown at smt." or "look seriously at smt. (with knitted brow)" maybe?

I'm sure it's obvious for a native, but that's certainly beyond my modest Russian. Any help would be apreciated.

1 Answer 1


Чело means 'brow, forehead', глядеть means 'to look', so глядеть с чела means 'to look from the forehead, from the face', it is a metaphor which means 'to be depicted on the face', it can be said about emotions, facial expressions, fear, happiness, etc.

The general idea in those lines is 'if love and hope could be combined, an unbelievable thing would happen [lit. a beautiful picture would appear], vain sufferings would abandon us, and only sweet suffering would be in our faces [lit. would look from our faces].'

Note, this, as always in Okudzhava's songs, is highly poetic language full of metaphors, you don't use that in everyday speech.

  • 1
    Sorry for the typo. I've corrected it in case someone else wants to know :) Thanks a lot, that's crystal clear.
    – kuroi neko
    Aug 20, 2015 at 9:38

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