Sep 22, 2021, 5:24:39 PMSep 22
In science of parting I received instruction
From hatless laments of the sleepless night
As oxen chewed, and grew the expectation,
And end of city vigil was in sight -
And I recall the rooster night that year
When lost in doleful journey for too long
Into the void the tear-drenched eyes did peer
And woman's cry mingled with muse's song.
Who yet again can say farewell, unknowing
What longing and what sorrow waits for us,
What good is it to judge the rooster's crowing
When fire is burning in Acropolis;
And on the somewhere dawn of some new lifetime,
While oxen lazily chew roughage at the stall,
Why does the rooster, herald of new lifetime,
Flap his flamboyant wings on city wall?
And yet I love the way fate weaves her gown:
The shuttle runs, the spindle turns apace,
And straight ahead, look now, for like swan's down
The barefoot Delia is flying in your face!
Structure of life is shoddily created
When tongue is starved so utterly for light!
All was before, and all will be repeated,
And only recognition brings respite.
Thus it will be: A figurine, transparent,
Stands on an earthen dish that's clean and wide,
And like a snow-white winter squirrel pelt
A girl leans over wax and looks inside.
Ours not is to divine the Greek Erebus:
Wax is to her what bronze is to her mate.
Our dice falls only in the field of battle;
But women die as they're predicting fate.
By Osip Mandelshtam
Translated from Russian by Ilya Shambat