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Γιατὶ τὸ ξέρω· πιὸ βαθιὰ κι ἀπ᾿ τὸν πηχτὸν ἀστρόφως, κρυμμένος σὰν ἀετός, μὲ περιμένει, ἐκεῖ ποὺ πιὰ ὁ θεῖος ἀρχίζει ζόφος, ὁ πρῶτος μου ἑαυτός... ΑΓΓΕΛΟΣ ΣΙΚΕΛΙΑΝΟΣ

Κυριακή, 26 Απριλίου 2009

osip mandelstam

‘I shall perform a smoky rite:’


I shall perform a smoky rite:
disgraced, I see, in the opal here
a seaside summer’s strawberries –
cornelians split into two halves
agates, antlike, their brothers,
but a pebble from deep waters,
a simple soldier’s dearer to me,
that no one wants – grey, wild.

Note: Opala in Russian is ‘disgrace’.


‘Like a belated gift,’

Like a belated gift,
Winter’s palpable to me:
and I’m in love with
it’s first uncertain sweep.

It’s terror’s beautiful,
like the start of what’s dreadful:
even the ravens fearful
of its leafless circle.

But most intense, fragile –
is its bulging blueness:
half-formed ice, that fills
the river, lulling, sleepless…


‘I’m still alive: I’m still not alone,’

I’m still alive: I’m still not alone,
with a beggar-woman beside me
I take delight in the huge empty zone,
the haze, the blizzards, and the freeze.

In beautiful poverty, luxurious distress,
living alone – consoled, and quietly –
these days, these nights, are blessed,
and innocent labour echoes sweetly.

Unhappy he, whom, like his shade,
barking scares, the wind scythes through,
and poor the one, half-alive, who’s made
to beg for mercy from a shadow.


‘Oh, sluggish, asthmatic spaciousness’

Oh, sluggish, asthmatic spaciousness –
I’m full of it, to the point of rebellion! –
the view’s wide open, catching its breath –
there’s a blindfold needed here for my vision!

I’d rather have put up with layered leaves
of sand along the Kama’s toothed shores,
I’d have clung there to its shy sleeves,
its bends, its precipices, and pores.

A second, an age – I’d have been working
envying outfalls from every rapid there,
listening to the growth of fibrous rings
beneath the surface of the flowing timber.

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