List of Russian-language poets
This is a list of authors who have written poetry in the Russian language.
For the plain text list, see Category:Russian poets.
See also: List of Russian-language writers, List of Russian-language novelists, List of Russian-language playwrights, List of Russian artists, List of Russian architects, List of Russian inventors, List of Russian explorers, Russian literature, Russian culture
A Guiding Sound
Once in December
|"Rain Flogs My Face..."
Rain flogs my face and collar-bones,
a thunderstorm roars over musts.
You thrust upon my flesh and soul,
like tempests upon ships do thrust.
I do not want, at all, to know,
what will befall to me the next –
would I be smashed against my woe,
or thrown into happiness.
In awe and gaiety elated,
like a ship, that's going tempests through,
I am not sorry that I've met you,
and not afraid to love you, too.
(Translation by Yevgeny Bonver)
Poem Without a Hero
|"Like a White Stone"
Like a white stone deep in a draw-well lying,
As hard and clear, a memory lies in me.
I cannot strive nor have I heart for striving:
It is such pain and yet such ecstasy.
It seems to me that someone looking closely
Into my eyes would see it, patent, pale.
And, seeing, would grow sadder and more thoughtful
Than one who listens to a bitter tale.
The ancient gods changed men to things, but left them
A consciousness that smoldered endlessly,
That splendid sorrows might endure forever.
And you are changed into a memory.
The Year of Birth
Stones and Grass
The Iron Mystery
|All We Who in His Name||Hate!
Hate, be a faithful prop, and find
So that the honest artist spurns
So that the artist may be schooled
So that he trains his eye to catch
Or if, again, with zealous mien
Until our enemy must run
|Under the Northern Sky
Let's Be as the Sun
|Centuries of Centuries Will Pass
Long centuries of centuries will pass, unsighted
Milleniums as locusts in deathy clouds descend,
And in the muttering of centuries affrighted
The same enduring firmament will watch the end.
The dumb, dead firmament that God will not remember,
Who breathes Eternity behind the farther skies,
Beyond the fading of the last star's last slow ember,
Beyond the utter threshold words may scrutinize.
Forever cold, that starry desert, clouds out-topping,
Is flung forth, alien to the end, on space,
When tearing comet-fires will crumble with it, dropping
As dumbly burning tears from a despairing face.
When the dumb darkness most heavily clings,
Rhythmic and ruthless my pendulum swings.
Rustily creaking or whining dismay,
Urging each tarrying moment away.
Longing, it seems, for the days that are fled,
Down ancient stairways resounds someone's tread.
Heavy the footfall on flagstones unlit,
Lower and lower and down to the pit.
Praying, it seems, for a long-vanished shore,
Dumbly the Helmsman with slow stubborn oar
Brokenly rows me, morosely alone,
Into my harbor, afar and unknown.
Evil the Ferryman, darkly he pounds;
Farther and farther, more muffled resounds,
Hostile and hopeless, the long downward climb:
Cold, ineluctable footsteps of Time.
The Last Poet
|Be Mirthful Now
Be mirthful now, for nothing stays,
Our good and evil both are brief.
Capricious Fate leads many ways,
Sometimes to joy, sometimes to grief,
And is no friend to constancy.
Listen, you whose lives are bright,
For the uncertain hours be
Winged for flight.
Do not repine, since nothing stays;
What matter if it chance at last
That unexpectedly our days
By cruel sorrow are o'ercast?
Upon this changeful earth of ours,
The gods from pain took half its stings
When alike to all the hours
They gave wings.
Mishka the Petty Thief
|No One Knew
(April 22, 1870)
It was a day like any other,
Gold in Azure
Christ Has Risen
The First Encounter
The shining and ponderous goblet
I empty: the earth drops below me,
All things sink away, I am treading
Cold space the vast void the dim ether.
But distant, in ancient space looming,
My glimmering goblet: the Sun.
I look far below me are lying
The rivers, the forests, the valleys,
Estranged in the vanishing distance.
A cloud, blowing fog on my eyelids,
Trails gossamer gold in its going.
The flickering landscape is burning
Its last: mid-day stars newly kindled
Look into my soul, sparkling: "Welcome,"
With radiance silently streaming:
"The end of long wanderings, brother,
Lies here, in your motherland, welcome!"
Slow hour upon hour in procession,
Slow centuries, smiling, pass onward.
In ancient space proudly I lift it,
My glimmering goblet: the Sun.
"On Kazbek the clouds are meeting,
|"Into Crimson Dark"
Into crimson dark thou goest,
Thy vast orbits mock the eye.
Small the echo that thou throwest,
Far, I hear thy footfalls die.
Art thou near? too far for greeting?
Lost in topless altitudes?
Shall I wait a sudden meeting
Where sonorous stillness broods?
In the solitude resounding
Distant footsteps echo free.
Is it thou who flamest, bounding
Circles of infinity?
|The Fierce Birds
Kindling the air, fierce birds with feathers of fire,
Through the white portals of Paradise flamed like desire.
Virgin vistas reared, lit with quivering red,
And beyond seas were the trackless wanderers fled.
But on the pillars of marble, on the threshold were thrown
Crimson shadows incredible, sunk in the stone.
And, under the arch, in eternity's radiance hidden,
Angels exulted in fruits that are secret and sweet and forbidden.
|In An Empty House
From the walls the paper's blue is vanished,
The daguerreotypes, the ikons banished.
Only there the deepened blue appears
Where these hid it, hanging through the years.
From the heart the memory is perished,
Perished all that long ago it cherished!
Those remain, of whom death hides the face,
Leaving their yet unforgotten trace.
The Giant Roach
Purple Autumn unloosened her tresses and flung them
On the heavens and over the dew-heavy fields.
She came as a guest to the old, silent house,
Singeing the grasses with red;
Through the garden she moved,-
Up the balcony; scarcely she touched
The fragile old rails.
She pushed the door-panel softly,
Softly she entered the room,
Sprinkling the rugs with her sun-yellow dust,
Dropped a red leaf upon the piano. . .
Ever after that hour, we heard her unceasing, her tireless rustling,
Rustle and stir and soft whisper.
And our hands suddenly met
With no new words, new and forever false.
|Ah, You Night...
Ah, you night, you little night!
Ah, you night, you stormy night!
Why from early evening tide
Even to the midnight late
Twinkle not your little stars,
Shineth not your full-orbed moon?
You are veiled with darkling clouds!
'T is with you, I think, O night,
Even as with me, young man,
Villain grief has called on us!
When the dire one takes abode
Somewhere deep within the heart,
You forget the lasses fair,
Dances and obeisances;
You forget from evening tide
Even to the midnight late,
Singing songs, to take delight
In the chorus and the dance.
No, you sob, you weep aloud,
And, a sad and lonely lad,
You upon your coarse straw bed
Throw yourself as in the grave!
|The Stream of Time
The stream of time, with onward sweep,
Bears off men's works, all human things,
And plunges o'er Oblivion's steep
Peoples and kingdoms with their kings.
If for a space amidst the swirl
The lyre or trumpet some sustain,
They're swept at last in ceaseless whirl,
And none escape Fate's common main.
|The Little Dove
The little dove, with heart of sadness,
In silent pain sighs night and day;
What now can wake that heart to gladness?
His mate beloved is far away.
He coos no more with soft caresses,
No more is millet sought by him,
The dove his lonesome state distresses,
And tears his swimming eyeballs dim.
From twig to twig now skips the lover,
Filling the grove with accents kind,
On all sides roams the harmless rover,
Hoping his little friend to find.
Ah! vain that hope his grief is tasting,
Fate seems to scorn his faithful love.
And imperceptibly is wasting,
Wasting away, the little dove!
At length upon the grass he threw him,
Hid in his wing his beak and wept;
There ceased his sorrows to pursue him,
The little dove for ever slept.
His mate, now sad abroad and grieving,
Flies from a distant home again.
Sits by her friend, with bosom heaving,
And bids him wake with sorrowing pain.
She sighs, she weeps, her spirits languish.
Around and round the spot she goes;
Ah! charming Chloe 'slost in anguish,
Her friend wakes not from his repose!
What if I die? 'Twere little grief!
But one fear wrings my breast-
Perhaps Death, too, may play on me
A grim, insulting jest.
I fear that over my cold corpse
Hot tears may fall in showers;
That someone, with a foolish zeal,
May heap my bier with flowers;
That friends may crowd behind my hearse
With thoughts of grief sincere,
And when I lie beneath the mould,
Men's hearts may hold me dear;
That all which I so eagerly
And vainly used to crave
In life, may brightly smile on me
When I am in my grave!
The meek dew shone, the grass lay prostrate
And you alone, great tree, remaining
And under fire you tossed and twisted,
|A Russian Scene
Wondrous the picture,
How homelike to me!—
Distant plain whitening,
Full moon on the lea;
Light—in the heavens high,
And snow flashing bright;
Sledge in the distance
In its lonely flight.
There stood a beggar asking alms
By the cathedral gate,
His face bore torture marks of life—
Pale, tired, blind—like fate.
Thin, tired, pale and blind he begged
A crust of bread alone.
And some one pausing, placed within
His outstretched hand—a stone.
And even so I asked your love,
I brought my dreams, my life—the while
Unto my passion you replied
Only with your cold smile!
|100px||Cherubina de Gabriak
The Night Watch
When I Return
|"I Seek For Rhythmic Whisperings"
I seek for rhythmic whisperings
Where noises bandy
For life I listen wistfully
In footless banter.
I cast wide nets and tentative
In lakes of sorrow.
I go toward final tenderness
By pathways sordid.
I look for dewdrops glistering
In falsehood's gardens.
I save truth's globules glistening,
From dust-heaps garnered.
I fain would fathom fortitude
Through years of wormwood
And pierce the mortal fortalice,
Yet live, a worldling.
My cup, through ways impassable,
To bear, untainted;
By tenebrous bleak passages
To joy attaining.
Wondrous city, ancient city,
Thou enfoldest in thy walls
Villages and smiling suburbs,
Churches, palaces and halls.
Thou art girt by grassy meadows,
Gay with gardens, rich in flowers;
Seven the hills are which thou crownest
With thy temples, with thy towers.
Thou unfoldest like a parchment
Written by a giant hand,
And beside thy little river
Thou art glorious now and grand.
Many are thine ancient churches
Towering like the northern pine;
Where can eye see streets so noble,
Mother Moscow, as are thine?
Capture Moscow's mighty Kremlin?
Who on earth would boast the power?
Who could rob the golden bonnet
From the slender Ivan tower?
Who could ever swing the Tsar-bell,
Or the Tsar-gun overthrow?
Reverence at the sacred gateway
Who could ever fail to show?
In thine awful hour of peril,
When thy haughty neck was bent,
All thy children, men of Russia,
Felt with thee the punishment.
White-walled city, them wast chastened
Like a martyr in the fire;
And thy river, boiling, hastened
Onward to escape the pyre.
Once a captive and dishonoured,
In thine embers thou didst lie!
Now arisen from thine ashes
Changeless, lift thy head on high!
Flourish through the countless ages,
|Woe from Wit|
|"The Mother" 
(World War 1)
O Son of mine, forgive these tears.
The tears that from my heart are wrung!
E'en birch-trees for their reft boughs weep,
The wild beasts for their young.
And, dearest, how should I not weep?
Nor dolorous grief o'er me prevail?
Where strength and calm endurance draw
To choke... a mother's wail?
In offering to our native land
We needs must of our own will part
With what is lovelier than life.
E'en though it break our heart.
And so I freely offer thee
To deadly battle with the foe.
Though dearer to me than my life.
Farewell! God with thee! Go!
With heaviness this wingless wind is cursed,
You ache to give the clouds a gentle shove,
Upon such languid evenings you will see
And fishers tear the waters with the oar,
While those who in their being must rehearse
Who house within them, slumbering or astir,
Write winged verses whose resistless sweep
Your soul, born deaf and blind, inhabits
Jungles of sunless reverie,
Where with the crash of trampled saplings
Wild droves of dark desires roam free.
A torch I kindled in the darkness
To lead you to my starry gate,
With seeds of light in shining handfuls
The furrows of your night to sate.
I stand amid the trackless stretches
And hail you in the wilderness;
But lost in dark and dreary caverns
My cry sinks silent, answerless.
|On Julia's Death
The evening darkness shrouds
The slumbering world in peace,
And from her throne of clouds
Shines Luna through the trees.
My thoughts in silence blend.
But gathered all to thee:
Thou moon! the mourner's friend,
Oh, come and mourn with me!
Upon her grave I bow,
The green grave where she lies:
Oh, hear my sorrows now,
And consecrate my sighs!
This is her ashes' bed,—
Here her cold relics sleep,—
Where I my tears shall shed.
While this torn heart can weep.
O Julia! Never rose
Had half the charms of thee!
My comfort, my repose,—
Oh, thou wert all to me I
But thou art gone, and I
Must bear life's load of clay,—
And pray, and long to die,
Though dying day by day.
But I must cease to sing.
My lyre all mute appears.
Alas! Its plaintive string
Is wetted with my tears.
Oh! Misery's song must end,—
My thoughts all fly to thee:
Thou moon! The mourner's friend,
Oh, come and mourn with me!
|The Lion's Council of State
A lion held a court for state affairs:
Why? That is not your business, sir, 'twas theirs!
He called the elephants for counsellors—still
The council-board was incomplete;
And the king deemed it fit
With asses all the vacancies to fill.
Heaven help the state—for lo! the bench of asses
The bench of elephants by far surpasses.
He was a fool, the foresaid king, you'll say:
Better have kept those places vacant surely,
Than fill them up so poorly.
O no! that's not the royal way;
Things have been done for ages thus,— and we
Have a deep reverence for antiquity:
Naught worse, sir, than to be, or to appear
Wiser and better than our fathers were.
The list must be complete, even though you make it
Complete with asses; for the lion saw
Such had for ages been the law,—
He was no radical to break it!
"Besides," he said, "my elephants' good sense
Will soon my asses' ignorance diminish,
For wisdom has a mighty influence."
They made a pretty finish!
The asses' folly soon obtained the sway:
The elephants became as dull as they!
O cork that stoppered the strong iodine,
|A Northern Poem
Sunset dreams on fir-tree cones,
Green the hedge, and brown the field;
Mossy rifts in weathered stones
Meekly vernal waters yield.
Oh, look up the wooded steep
God has touched it with his palm;
Piously wild berries weep,
listening to the grassy psalm.
And I feel no fleshly tie;
And my heart's a springing mead.
Come, ye pilgrims white and shy,
Peck the early wheaten seed.
Tender evening twilight searches
Cottage windows, gabled byres,
And the leaves of slender birches
Glimmer soft as wedding fires.
|An Old Man's Song
I shall saddle a horse,
A swift courser, he,
I shall fly, I shall rush,
As the hawk is keen,
Over fields, over seas,
To a distant land.
I shall overtake there
My young youth again.
I shall make myself spruce
Be a blade again,
I shall make a fine show
For the girls again.
But alas! no road leads
To the past we've left,
And the sun will not rise
For us in the west.
|A Swan, a Pike, and a Crab
Whene'er companions don't agree,
They work without accord;
And naught but trouble doth result,
Although they all work hard.
One day a Swan, a Pike, a Crab,
Resolved a load to haul.
All three were harnessed to the cart,
And pulled together all.
But though they pulled with all their might,
That cart-load on the bank stuck tight.
The Swan pulled upwards to the skies,
The Crab did backwards crawl,
The Pike made for the water straight:
This proved no use at all.
Now, which of them was most to blame
Tis not for me to say,
But this I know—the load is there
Unto this very day.
|"Now Dry Thy Eyes"
Now dry thy eyes, and shed no tears.
In heaven's straw-pale meadows veers
Aquarius, and earthward peers,
His emptied vessel overturning.
No storming snows, no clouds that creep
Across the sheer pure emerald steep,
Whence, thinly-drawn, a ray darts deep
As a keen lance with edges burning.
The Song of the Merchant Kalashnikov
Death of the Poet
|The Cup of Life
We drink life's cup with thirsty lips,
Our eyes shut fast to fears;
About the golden rim there drips
Our staining blood, our tears.
But when the last swift hour comes on,
The light long hid is lit,
From startled eyes the band is gone,
We suffer and submit.
It is not our part to possess
The cup that golden gleamed.
We see its shallow emptiness:
We did not drink we dreamed.
|And Moan of Winds...
And moan of winds and whispered thoughts of gloom,
From life no joy is won . . .
Yet somewhere,—warmth, and ocean's muffled boom.
And lustre of the sun.
The blizzard wails, and in the heart it throws
A load of tears unshed.
Yet somewhere myrtle, verdant myrtle grows.
And stainless roses spread.
Life, passing by, in empty brooding delves,
Unmeaning, unbedight . . .
Yet somewhere, mirth and bliss will yield themselves,
And comeliness and light!
You know how to weep—you're going to die.
|Stalin Epigram||"The Air Strikes Chill"
The air strikes chill. Although transparent spring
|"Savage, Nomad Hordes"
Savage, nomad hordes
Poured fire out of the vats!
Razin's execution is avenged,
And Pugachov's pain
Whose beard was torn away.
The scruff of the earth,
Cold with centuries,
And the supernal sky, like a stocking
With a hole in its heel
Has been taken out of the laundry-trough
|A Cloud in Trousers
There will be a moon.
|The Alpine Glacier
Dank the darkness on the cliff-side;
Faintly outlined from below,
In their modest maiden gladness,
Glaciers in the dawn's blush glow.
What new life upon me blowing,
Breathes from yonder snowy height,
From that depth of limpid turquoise
Flashing in the morning light?
There, I know, dread Terror dwelleth.
Track of man there is not there;
Yet my heart in answer swelleth
To the challenge, "Come thou here!"
|The Curse of Love
With heavy anguish, hopeless straining,
The bonds of love I would remove.
Oh, to be loosed from their enchaining!
Oh, freedom, only not to love!
The soul that shame and fear are scourging
Crawls through a mist of dust and blood.
From dust, great God, my spirit purging,
Oh, spare me from love's bitter flood!
Is pity's wall alone unshaken?
I pray to God, I cry in vain,
More weary, by all hope forsaken;
Resistless love grows great again.
There is no freedom, unforgiven,
We live as slaves, by life consumed;
We perish, tortured, bound and driven,
Promised to death, and to love doomed.
She lies, opening her teats, strong, swollen, wide,
And at her breasts, their equal gift bestowing,
Mad Nero and meek Buddha clutch, unknowing,
As clinging twins who suckle side by side.
She holds two vessels, whence, forever flowing,
The streams of Life and Death serenely glide.
She breathes and wreaths of stars are lit, and bide,
She breathes anew: they fly like sere leaves blowing.
She looks ahead with cold unseeing eyes;
She cares not though she bear or cause to perish;
The children whom she nurtures she will cherish,
But when she weans them, every claim denies.
Evil and Good gather them in thereafter
And play the cosmic game with idle laughter.
|"Pity the Stately Cypress Trees"
Pity the stately cypress trees;
How freshly green they spring!
Ah! why amidst their branches, child,
Have you put up your swing?
Break not a single fragrant bough.
Oh, take thy swing away
To heights where thick acacias bloom;
Mid dusty olives play!
Thence you can see the Ocean,
And, as your swing ascends,
Through greening boughs a sunny glimpse
The sea in laughter sends
Of white sails in the distance dim,
Of white gulls far away,
Of white flakes foaming on the sands,
A fringe of snowy spray.
|The Russian Soldier
Then up there comes a veteran,
With medals on his breast;
He scarcely lives, but yet contrives
To drink with all the rest.
"A lucky man am I," he cries,
And thus to prove the fact he tries.
"In what consists of a soldier's luck?
Pray, listen while I tell.
In twenty fights, or more, I've been,
And yet I never fell.
And, what is more, in peaceful times
Full meal I never knew;
Yet, all the same, I have contrived
Not to give Death his due.
Again, for sins both great and small,
Full many a time they've me
With canes unmercifully flogged,
Yet I'm alive, you see!"
|100px||Ivan Savvich Nikitin
Though blameless thy living
As Anchorite's fate,
Yet gossip will find thee
Or early or late.
Through keyhole he enters
And stands at thy side,
Doors of wood nor of stone
Against him provide.
He pulls the alarm bell
At slightest excuse-
And down to thy grave
Will pursue with abuse.
Self defence nothing boots thee,
Thy flight he will worst-
To earth he will tread thee,
O Gossip be cursed!
|The Village Watchman
The night is dark, and clouds abound,
Appears the white snow everywhere;
The crackling frost pervades the ground,
And frigid is the atmosphere.
On either side the long, broad street
The peasants' cottages are seen;
The solitary watchman's feet
Are heard, as he moves on between.
Cold is he now; the hollow gale
Fills with violent blast the air;
The frost has touched his visage pale,
And whitened all his beard and hair.
Joy has fled from his gloomy brow,
He finds it hard to be alone;
Through the dark night, and blinding snow,
His song resounds with mournful tone.
By moonless nights he paces late,
Watching until the morn comes round;
His hammer upon the iron plate
Gives out a dreary, dismal sound.
And swaying ever to and fro,
The board prolongs its dreadful moan;
The heart dies down with feelings low,
And sorrow weighs it, lorn and lone.
|The Carp (excerpt)
Where is your smile,
The one you had yesterday?
|"The Drowsy Garden"
The drowsy garden scatters insects
As into some unheard-of dogma
Where the pond lies, an open secret,
Ah! could I but utter in song
All the anguish which robs me of peace,
Thy sorrow of soul would be stilled,
Thy murmur of doubting would cease!
I would breathe forth my life, my beloved.
As I told all my pain for thy sake;
And, bursting in passionate song.
My heart in its fulness would break.
|A Gipsy Song
Pile of embers in the darkness,
Sparks expire as they fly
Night conceals us from the passing,
On the bridge we'll say good-by!
At the parting, shawl of crimson
Cross my shoulders thou shalt lace,
At an end the days swift passing,
Met within this shaded place.
In the morning, with first splendour.
All my life compelled to rove
I shall leave with other gipsies
Seeking happiness and love.
How does fate foretell my future?
Who, to-morrow by my side,
O'er my heart will loose with kisses
Knots by thy dear hand fast tied?
Flash of embers in the darkness,
Sparks expire as they fly
Night conceals us from the passing,
On the bridge we'll kiss good-by!
(1778 or 1779 – c. 1816)
|Eugene Onegin||From Eugene Onegin
Lensky and Olga
Sometimes he read aloud with Olga
A latter day romance discreet,
Whose author truly painted nature,
With cunning plot, insight complete;
Oft he passed over a few pages,
Too bald or tasteless in their art
And coloring, began on further,
Not to disturb the maiden heart.
Again, they sat for hours together,
With but a chess board to divide
She with her arms propped on the table,
Deep pondering, puzzled to decide
Till Lensky from his inward storm
Captured her castle with his pawn!
|100px||Konstantin Romanov (K.R.)
|Love's Reason Why
For beauty love me not!
Nor love for gold!
For beauty—love the Day—
For wealth—love coinage cold!
Nor love me for my youth!
For Youth—love spring!
But love—because to you
With constant love I cling.
|A Russian Song
Lace and roses in the forest morning shine,
Shrewdly the small spider climbs his cobweb line.
Dews are diamonding and blooming faery-bright.
What a golden air ! What beauty ! Oh, what light !
It is good to wander through the dawn-shot rye,
Good to see a bird, a toad, a dragon-fly;
Hear the sleepy crowing of the noisy cock,
And to laugh at echo, and to hear her mock.
Ah, I love in vain my morning voice to hurl,
Ah, off in the birches, but to glimpse a girl,
Glimpse, and leaning on the tangled
fence, to chase
Dawn's unwilling shadows from her morning face.
Ah, to wake her from her half-surrendered sleep,
Tell her of my new-sprung dreams, that lift and leap,
Hug her trembling breasts that press against my heart,
Stir the morning in her, hear its pulses start.
The sunflower has nowhere
Do you remember, dear-or care?
When I was but a little thing,
Among the garden-blossoms, there,
I brushed a bee and took its sting:
My finger pained me. Quick and hot,
My tears ran like a rivulet.
You laid upon the aching spot
A lump of brown earth, cool and wet…
And, all at once, there was no pain!
And you looked on, with your kind eyes,
To see me at my sport, again,
Of chasing dappled butterflies.
That time is long and long since flown;
But I received a later dart…
Oh, my dear friend, to you I own,
It is Love's shaft within my heart!
So be it!-now I only crave
The perfect cure that with you lies-
A little cool earth from your grave
Above this heart, upon these eyes.
|Wait for Me||Wait For Me (1941)
Just wait for me and I'll return.
Just wait for me and I'll return.
Just wait for me and Til return,
|Recited at a charity event, 1902.
A shadow falls upon your heads,
You will not like my song;
The emptiness inside you spreads-
It will not spread for long.
Of you, the world has had enough,
The years will soon be free
Of you, and made of finer stuff-
Life waits for men like me.
In a gay jar upon his shoulder
The slave morosely carries wine.
His road is rough with bog and boulder,
And in the sky no starlights shine.
Into the dark with stabbing glances
He peers, his careful steps are slow,
Lest on his breast as he advances
The staining wine should overflow.
I bear my amphora of sorrow,
Long brimming with the wine it hides;
There poison for each waiting morrow
Ferments within the painted sides.
I follow secret ways and hidden
To guard the evil vessel, lest
A careless hand should pour unbidden
Its bitterness upon my breast.
|"Below the Sultry Storm"
Below the sultry storm that seemed to lower,
An alien force, again I heard the call
Of my mysterious mate: the prisoned power
Of old dreams flared and flickered in its fall.
And with a cry of horror and of dolor-
As of an eagle in an iron vise-
My spirit shook its cage in quivering choler,
And tore the net, and issued to the skies.
And up behind the clouds, unswerving, bearing,-
Before the miracles a flaming sea-
Within the shining sanctum briefly flaring,
It vanished into white infinity.
Our rooms are turned to rolling wagons
We travel over crystal bridges,
And every heart's a summer beehive
We do not know who leads us onward,
|My Little Almond Tree
My little almond tree
Is gay with gleaming bloom,
My heart unwillingly
Puts forth its buds of gloom.
The bloom will leave the tree,
The fruit, unbidden, grow.
And the green boughs will be
By bitter loads brought low.
|"No Longer Now"
No longer now the same god-given bounties
And I on the chill sands shall lie, receding
|Memory of the Heart|
On the porch a trooper marvels
Be silent, hidden, and conceal
Whate'er you dream, whate'er you feel.
Oh, let your visions rise and die
Within your heart's unfathomed sky,
Like stars that take night's darkened route.
Admire and scan them and be mute.
The heart was born dumb; who can sense
Its tremors, recondite and tense?
And who can hear its silent cry?
A thought when spoken is a lie.
Uncovered springs men will pollute,
Drink hidden waters, and be mute.
Your art shall inner living be.
The world within your fantasy
A kingdom is that waits its Saul.
The outer din shall still its call,
Day's glare its secret suns confute.
Oh, quaff its singing, and be mute.
|The Story About Ginger Motele
Rabbi Isaiah and Commissar Bloch
Whose the flying hands, about me shedding
Fire, and leading me on passionate ways?
No sonorous stones my feet are treading,
But where vatic waters fill the days.
Piercing through the spirit, sharp pilasters
Rise, and candle sting the dark like bees.
Oh, the hearts that bloom like crimson asters,
Petalled with gold-bladed ecstasies.
Now the evening on the temple flinging
Patterned, carven crimson, shines and mourns.
Oh, the pale brow to the altar clinging,
Stung anew with stinging scarlet thorns!
The whole soul, high vaults and portals glowing,
Fear like incense swathes with dim blue bands:
Ah, I know you, sacred corals, growing
On the pierced palms of these outstretched hands.
"Ah, Spring, sweet Spring, chief pride of Nature!"
The cab breaks down, so does the carriage;
|The Ninth Wave
Not for every plashing wavelet
Watches keen the helmsman's eye;
He awaits the last huge roller,
When the ninth wave surges high.
But until that last strong roller
Swells with deep, decisive roar,
We must meet the strife and effort
Of the waves that go before.
Even though we scarce perceive them,
Sinking vanquished to their grave,
Wait, O brethren, wait with courage
For the ninth, the conqu'ring wave!
Cruel is our lonely ocean,
Roaring always day and night;
Buried 'neath its wild commotion
Many a wreck lies, far from sight.
Courage, comrades! I, confiding,
To the free winds give my barque;
Forth it hastens, swiftly riding
O'er the billows grim and dark.
Thick the clouds fly o'er the heaven,
Fierce the gale grows, black the waves;
Hither, thither we are driven,
While the waking whirlwind raves.
Courage, comrades ! Peals the thunder,
High the watery heaps arise,
Yawning gulfs now draw us under,
Now we 're lifted to the skies.
Yet behold, our ship is nearing
Through the storm the wished-for land;
See, the vaults of heaven are clearing,
See, the port is near at hand.
Thither but brave hearts and ready
Will the billows speed along!
Courage, comrades! straight and steady
Flies our vessel, stanch and strong.
|The Humpbacked Horse|
|"Hopes Painted By The Autumn Cold"
Hopes, painted by the autumn cold, are shining,
My steady horse plods on, like quiet fate,
His moist dun lip is catching at the lining
When the coat, flapping, flutters and falls straight.
On a far road the unseen traces, leading
Neither to rest nor battle, lure and fade;
The golden heel of day will flash, receding,
And labors in the chest of years be laid.
Dear, you will soon forget me,
You I shall ne'er forget,
You'll find new loves for old ones,
For me love's sun is set.
New faces soon will greet you,
You'll choose yourself new friends,
New thoughts you'll get and haply
New joy to make amends:
While I in silent sorrow
Life's joyless way shall go,
And how I love and suffer
Only the grave will know.
|To a Floweret
Floweret, faded and forsaken,
Fragile beauty of the lea,
Autumn's cruel hand hath taken
All thy summer charms from thee.
Heigho! that the years must bring
This same destiny to all;
One by one our joys take wing,
One by one your petals fall.
So each evening rings the knell
Of some dream or rapture perished,
And the fleeting hours dispel
Each some vision fondly cherished.
Life's illusions lie unmasked,
And the star of hope burns paler.
Has not some sage long since asked:
Men or blossoms which are frailer?
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- Russian language
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