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All rights reserved:
alik-vagapov@rambler.ru


:
http://zhurnal.lib.ru/w/wagapow_a/blok.shtml




1880-1921

Collected Poems
Translated from the Russian by Alec Vagapov

Table of Contents

1.The Girl Was Singing In A Church Choir...
2.I Recall, We Would Date At Sundown...
3.I While Away My Reckless Life...
4.To Boring, Tedious Noise And Ringing...
5.You Are As Bright As Snow, My Dear...
6.The Unknown Lady
7.The Guardia Angel
8.Anticipating You, As Years Go By
9.Life Slowly Moved Like A Mature
10.So When I Retire From The Timeline Stream
11.Oh What A Storm! Its Like Insane
12.Above The Forest, Field And Meadow
13.Run-Down And Worn From Daily Rambles
14.Let The Dawn Keep Shining Out
15.At The Restaurant
16.There Is Impulsive Youth Again
17.I Would Forget About Courage, Winning
18.At Night When Troubles Settle Down
19.I Havent Lived So Long As You
20.You Were The Fairest Of All, No Denying
21.The Way She Did Before, She Wanted
22.Obscure Daily Shadows Run About
23.We Were Together, I Recall
24.I See The Long Forgotten Blaze
25.You And I Are Forlorn, I Presume
26.My Friend, Youll Understand, Of Course!..
27.A Cheerful Bride, She Was Happy And Gay
28.Dont Build A House By A Drowned Current
29.With years you havent changed, my fair
30.I bless my lucky stars above
31.When You Are On My Way
32.I Know Your Face So Well, My Fair
33.Turning Red, Temple Stairs Are Fading
34.Streets Were Empty, It Was Just Another
35.Worlds, years go by. The universe is bare
36.Oh no ! You cannot disenchant my heart
37.The Double
38.At night I was conceived and born.
39.Although I have never loved
40.Im Hamlet. And my blood runs cold
41.I am a boy, I light a candle
42.The Way It Used To Be, My Heart Is Lighted...
43. My earthly heart gets cold and all...
44. As I was growing old and fading...
45. With inspiration and such sweetness





 ***
The girl was singing in a church choir,
About the weary abroad, far away,
About the ships in the sea, so dire,
And those who'd forgotten their happy day.
 
So sweet was her voice flying up into highness
With shimmering beam on her shoulder of white,
And every one listened watching from darkness
The way the white garment was singing in light.
 
And every one thought that the joy was there,
That the ships were all in a quiet bay,
And the weary people abroad, full of care,
Were now all blessed with a happy day.
 
The voice was sweet, and the beam was shining,
And only up there at the royal rack
A child, conversant with secret, was crying
That nobody, really, would ever come back.
 
August, 1905

 
 
 ***
I recall, we would date at sundown,
You would cut the lagoon with the ore.
I admired your white dressing gown
Not revering fine dreams any more.
 
Our dates would be awkwardly silent.
Up ahead on the sandy shore
Evening candles would light up, and someone
Thought of beauty, about to show.
 
Close-up, burning and intimate feeling
Quiet azure wouldnt partake.
We would meet in the haze of the evening
On the shore of the rippled lake.
 
All has vanished : love, torment, yearning,
All has faded forevermore
Slender waist and the voices of mourning,
Our row and your golden ore.
 
May 13th , 1902

 
 
 ***
I while away my reckless life,
My life, extremely dull and sombre,
Now I rejoice, restrained and sober,
Now I shed tears, sing and strive.
 
But if one day I am to die?
What if behind me stands the visage
That covers mirror, like an image,
With his enormous hand? Oh my !
 
The mirror light will flash and burn,
Ill close my eyes in trepidation
And Ill retreat to destination
From where no one will return
 
September 17th, 1910

 ***
To boring, tedious noise and ringing
And to the city empty fuss,
Relaxed at heart, now Im leaving
Into he drizzle, void and dusk.
 
I cut the fibber of my senses,
My whereabouts I forget
I see the snow, trams, buildings, fences
With lights and darkness up ahead.
 
And what if I, bewitched, enchanted,
My conscience thread beyond retrieve,
Come home disgraced and broken-hearted,-
Will you be able to forgive?
 
You are my leading light, my wizard,
You know the target, I presume,
Will you forgive my storms and blizzards,
My trash, my poetry and gloom?
 
Or, p'rhaps , youd better, not forgiving,
Awake the bells upon the dome,
So that the slash at night, misleading,
Might not seclude me from my home?
 
February 2, 1909

 ***
You are as bright as snow, my dear
And like a church, you look so white.
I dont believe this night, so drear,
And the despairing eventide.
 
Nor do I want to trust all over
My soul, worn out forevermore.
So, maybe, I, belated rover,
Will knock upon your chamber door.
 
You will forgive the foul player
For his pernicious pains and grief,
You'll stretch your hand to the betrayer
And give him spring-time as a gift.
 
September 4th, 2006

 The Unknown Lady
The heated air in the restaurants
Is wild and dull as anything,
The drunken hails are ruled by restless
And noxious spirit of the spring.
 
Far off, beyond the dusty alley
Over the boring country side
There is a bakeshop, and the valley
Resounds with crying of a child.
 
And every night, beyond the barriers,
Parading, cocking their hats,
Amidst the ditches the admirers
Perambulate with dear hearts.
 
Above the lake the creak of ore-lock
And womens screams impale the place,
And in the sky, the moon disk warlock,
Inanely smiling, makes a face.
 
And every night, my friend appears
As a reflection in my glass,
Like me, hes stunned and set at ease
By magic liquid, drunk en mass.
 
The footmen, true to their habits,
Relax at tables next to us,
And drunkards, staring like rabbits,
Exclaim: In vino veritas!
 
And every evening at this hour
(or is it just a dreamy case?)
A waist in satin, like a flower,
Moves past the window in the haze.
 
Without drunken men to hinder,
Alone, she walks across the room
And settles down by the window
Exhaling fog and sweet perfume.
 
There is a kind of old times flavour
About her silky clothes and things:
Her hat, in mourning plumes as ever,
Her hand and fingers, all in rings.
 
I feel her close (a strange emotion),
And looking through the veil, I see
The vast of an amazing ocean,
The coast of an amazing sea.
 
I am informed of inmost secrets,
Somebodys sun is now all mine,
My body, heart and soul, in sequence,
Have all been pierced by the wine.
 
The ostrich plumes, desired and welcome,
Are gently swaying in my mind,
And dark blue eyes, as deep as welkin,
Are blooming on the distant side.
 
Deep in my soul I have some riches
And Im the one who has the key!
Youre right, you heady monstrous creature!
In vino veritas, I see.
 
April 24th, 1906
 
Note
1. In vino veritas - the truth is in wine (Latin)
 

 
 
 The Guardian Angel
I love you , my Guardian Angel, you are
A sparkle in darkness, my guiding star.
 
I love you because youre my fair bride,
Because of my secrets you have deprived.
 
Because we are bound by secret and night,
Because youre my mother, my daughter, my bride.
 
I love you because we are destined in life
To be ever together as husband and wife.
 
I love you for prayers of yours and my chains
And for the family cursers and pains.
 
I love you for hating whatever I do
Like helping the poor whom I give their due.
 
I love you, because we just we cant live at one,
Because I can kill a detestable man.
 
Id kill in revenge for the weak and the blind,
The one who abased me and people of mine.
 
The one who has jailed the strong and the free,
Who didnt believe in my fire and me.
 
Who wants to deprive me of light of the day
And purchase submission from me in some way.
 
I love you because I am weak, I admit
my ancestors were of servile breed.
 
The poison of kindness has taken my life,
I cannot resort to the use of a knife
 
I love you because I am weak, I believe
Youre strong, and youve known the savour of grief.
 
For what is burnt down and coated with lead
Cannot be torn and stamped out, you bet!
 
We witnessed this sunset, and now you and I
Are watching this bottomless abyss, oh my!
 
Dual bidding of destiny - how can it be ?
We are vicious slaves! Our souls are free!
 
 
Be humble and daring! Dont go! Get away!
Whats up ahead? Is it night or day?
 
Where are we going? Who calls? Who will cry?
Together - forever constrained - you and I !
 
Shall we revive? Shall we perish and die?
 
==============================
August 17th, 1906
 
 ***
The heavy dream of simple wordly conscience
You will shake off with pangs of love and rue.
V. Solovyov
Anticipating you, as years go by, so drear,
I see the same old image anticipating you.
 
The skyline is on fire, and its extremely clear.
I wait for you in silence with pangs of love and rue.
 
The skyline is on fire - your vision is so near,
I am afraid youll change and will not look the same,
 
You will arouse suspicion incurring wrath, my dear,
By changing your appearance, the features and the frame.
 
I will break down in grief, frustrated and austere,
Unable to subdue the mortal dreams again!
 
The skyline is so lucid. The lustre is so near.
I am afraid youll change and will not look the same.
 
September 15th, 2006
 
 

 
 ***
 
Life slowly moved like a mature fortune teller
Mysteriously whispering forgotten words.
I sighed, regretting something , loss, or failure,
My head was filled with dreams of other worlds.
 
As I approached the fork I stopped to stare
At the serrated forest by the road.
By force of some volition , even there
The heaven seemed to be a heavy load.
 
And I remembered the untold and hidden reason
For captured power of youth and captured hopes,
While up ahead the fading day of season,
Was gilding the serrated verdure tops
 
Spring, tell me, what do I regret? What failure?
What are the dreams that come into my head?
My life, like a mature fortune teller,
Is whispering the words I did forget.
 
March 16th, 1902
 
 ***
 
So when I retire from the timeline stream
Abandoning censure and praise
Remember the kindness, the warmhearted dream
I lived on and bloomed in those days.
 
My darling, I know Youll forget all the spite
There used to be on my part,
When You, like a swan, appeared, snow-white,
Impaling the depth of my heart.
 
I wasnt the one who had wounded Your pride,
It was someone elses design.
Dark clouds would trouble my day and my light,
Your day was brighter than mine.
 
So when I retire from this lifetime string
And vanish beyond the blue grid,
You will remember the song we would sing,-
Id sing it, and You would repeat.
 
November 1, 1903
 

 ***
Poor naked wretches, whereso'er you are,
 That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm
 King Lear
Oh what a storm! Its like insane,
The wicked blizzard wails and rages,
The clouds rush with pouring rain
The wind now fades, now wails and surges.
 
Oh what a fright! On such a night
I pity the forsaken homeless,
Compassion makes me take to flight
Into the arms of soaking coldness!..
 
To fight the darkness and the rain
And share the fate of wretched martyrs
Oh what a storm! Its like insane,
The wicked blizzard wails and sputters!
 
August 24th, 1899
 

 ***
 
Above the forest, field and meadow,
Above the land and water flow
So fresh, congenial and mellow,
You turn up everywhere I go.
 
Your waist under the summer cloud,
Your waist , wrapped up in fur, I praise,
I sing and laud it out loud,
Enveloped in poetic haze.
 
Through years and streams, imparting wisdom,
Upon the cross, and when Im tight,
My friend, my dear child of freedom,
 I love you , dearly, my light.
 
July 8th, 1907
 

 ***
 
Run-down and worn from daily rambles
I will forsake the bustling whims
To bring to mind the sores of troubles
And stir the former, bygone dreams
 
If only I could breathe instilling
The joy of spring into her soul!
Oh no, I do not aim at killing
Her childish idleness at all!
 
Id better keep my soul from striving
To her unearthly heights, alas,
Where happiness appears shining ,
But it is not designed for us.
 
September 29th, 2006
 

 * * *
 
 
Let the dawn keep shining out,
Let the warbler sing at night,
How I wish I was allowed
To embrace and hold you tight!
 
Our boat will float with blessing
In the canes with rustling leaves,
You will cling to me, caressing,
Heated passion on your lips.
 
Sing, my love, and let the air
Flow with the amazing song,
Youre more beautiful and fair
Than the bird that sings along.
 
 May 1898 (March 3, 1921)

 
 At the Restaurant
 
I will never forget it (did it happen-who cares?)
Burnt and split by the sunset blaze
Was the pallid celestial vast, and some flares
Came to light in the yellow space.
 
There I sat by the window, in a crowded chamber.
Fiddlesticks were singing again.
And I sent you a flower, black rose, I remember,
And a bottle of golden champagne.
 
As you glanced, full of pride, I was slightly embarrassed,
But I looked and I bowed from above.
And addressing the man standing by, harsh and balanced,
You said: Oh, this one, too, is in love.
 
All at once the guitars started playing the song and
Fiddlesticks played in tune with the band
But you were with me with your youthful dishonour,
I could see by the move of your hand.
 
 And you dashed like a bird as if suddenly roused,
Passing by, like my dream you were light
And there came a sweet fume, and the eyelashes drowsed
To the whisper of silk in the night.
 
Now and then from the mirror at me youd be glancing
As you did Catch it now you would ask
And the jewelry rattled, the gipsy kept dancing
And she screamed of her love to the dusk.
 
 
April 19th, 1910
 

 * * *
 
There is impulsive youth again,
With bursts of vigour, views far-out
But happy moments never came.
At least this doesnt raise a doubt!
 
You have to be on the alert
For threat awaits you here and yonder.
And should you get away unhurt,
You will, at last, believe in wonder.
 
At last youll see and understand
That fortune wasnt your intention,
And that the futile dream you had
Was of extremely brief duration.
 
The cup was filled and overflowed
With joy of exquisite creation,
And all I had is your possession,
And we are bound with the world.
 
I think that every now and then,
You will remember, smiling dearly,
The dubious childish dream we tend
To take for happiness, naively!
 
1912
 

 * * *
 
There is impulsive youth again,
With bursts of vigour, views far-out
But happy moments never came.
At least this doesnt raise a doubt!
 
You have to be on the alert
For threat awaits you here and yonder.
And should you get away unhurt,
You will, at last, believe in wonder.
 
At last youll see and understand
That fortune wasnt your intention,
And that the futile dream you had
Was of extremely brief duration.
 
The cup was filled and overflowed
With joy of exquisite creation,
And all I had is your possession,
And we are bound with the world.
 
I think that every now and then,
You will remember, smiling dearly,
The dubious childish dream we tend
To take for happiness, naively!
 
 1912
 

 ***
 
I would forget about courage, winning,
About glory in the grievous land
When I looked up to see your portrait beaming
In an uncomely frame I had at hand.
 
The time had come and you left home for ever.
I threw the cherished ring into the night.
You gave your destiny to someone in your favour,
And I forgot your charming face all right.
 
Days, like a hateful swarm, flew by, a-whirling ,
By passion and carouse my life was done
And I remembered you before the lectern, darling,
I called you like my youth, now past and gone.
 
I called your name but somehow you looked down,
I cried - you didnt care about my mood;
You wrapped yourself up in a dark blue gown,
It was wet night when you left home for good.
 
My love, I dont know where youve settled down
And where youve found a shelter for your pride..
Im fast asleep, and I can see the gown
You were wearing as you left home that night.
 
To dream about caress I wont be able
For youth is past and gone, along with fame!
So I have put your portrait off the table,
Your lovely face in an uncomely frame!
 
December 30th, 1908
 

 
 * * *
 
At night when troubles settle down
And darkness hides the streets and lanes -
Theres so much music all around,
God sends us such amazing strains!
 
What is the tempest, if your flowers,
Adorn the blooming garden-bed!
What are the bitter tears of ours,
If sunset flares turning red!
 
Through blood and torment, grave and crushing,
Oh, Mistress of the Universe,
Accept the foamy cup of passion
From an unworthy slave of yours!
 
 1898 (June 2, 1919)
 
 
 * * *
 to N. Goon
I havent lived so long as you
Ive sung while youve been down and out.
A spirit came out of the blue
To show the sea of ample sound
 
Your soul is chained stirred by the blast
Of storm and whirlwind wailing there,
While mine is free, as fine as dust,
That blows around in the air.
 
My friend, Ive felt since long ago
Ill be impaired by my portion
My heart is berried, and I know
It wont be ever set in motion!
 
When we get tired and cease to be,
When in the haze we disappear
Do come to have a rest with me,
And I will come to see you, dear!
 
October 20, 2006
 
 
 * * *
You were the fairest of all, no denying,
Please, dont curse me and, pray, dont disgrace!
My train, like the song of a gipsy, is flying,
Like those irrevocable days
 
What I loved is gone by, disappeared
Up ahead is a hidden way
Unforgettable, blessed and revered,
Irretrievable pardon me, pray!
 
19145
 
 
 * * *
The way she did before, she wanted
To breathe her life into my heart,
Into my body, all exhausted,
Into my chilly habitat.
 
She came along like welkin,
I couldnt rise from bed to go,
Nor could I stir my arm to welcome
And tell her I had missed her so!...
 
I watched her with my eyes dim, hollow,
Whatever was she grieving for?..
There werent any words, nor sorrow,
Nor joy between us any more.
 
The earthly heart was tired and wasted.
So many days and years have past!...
The earthly happiness, belated,
Came riding in a cab so fast!
 
Now, deathly sick and broken down,
Im yearning for the change of tide,
Im content with the sundown
And unafraid of endless night.
 
I had eternitys sensation
With peace and quiet in my heart,
It quenched the fire of vexation
With chilly dampness of the night
 
July 30th, 1908
 
 ***
 to S. Solovyov
 
Obscure daily shadows run about.
The sound of the bells is clear and high.
The stairs of the church are shining out,
Alive, theyre waiting for you to come by.
 
As you step in youll touch a boulder, faintly,
Clad in the gruesome virtue of the past,
Perchance, youll drop an April flower gently
Amidst the prudent icons, in the dusk..
 
The rosy shadows run , obscure and scarce,
The sound of the bells is clear and high,
Dark mist is falling on the aged stairs
Im waiting for your footsteps to come by.
 
October 28th, 2006
 
 ***
 
We were together, I recall
The night was thrilled, the fiddle singing
You were mine, my kindly soul,
The loveliest of all in being.
 
Through murmur of the brook in peace,
Through the mysterious female giggle
The lips were longing for a kiss,
The heart for sound of the fiddle
 
March 9th, 1918
 ***
 
I see the long forgotten blaze,
And I can clearly hear, in silence,
Another song behind the violins,
The chesty voice that filled the space.
 
That s how she answered all my pledges,
My love and passion, first and last,
I recognize it when the blast
Of wind and blizzard wails and rages.
 
The past has gone without a trace,
And only some ones aspiration
Reminds me somehow, with good grace,
Of happiness and exultation.
 
December 12, 1913
 ***
You and I are forlorn, I presume.
Lets relax in this quiet room.
 
In this corner, so warm and so bright,
Let us watch the October night.
 
As before, there are lights outside.
Dear friend, we are old and retired.
 
All is gone: hardship, blizzards and dread.
Why on earth are you looking ahead?
 
It appears you wish you could read
News or message you badly need.
 
Are you waiting for an angels gift?
All is gone and cant be retrieved.
 
All we have are the books, walls and days.
Dear friend, we wont change our ways.
 
I dont grumble, my wishes are small,
And I dont grieve for bygones at all.
 
And I wonder just why you begin
Threading beads on a shiny string
 
Like you did in the past, long ago,
Those were really the days, you know!
 
But you were young then, and how!
And your silk was brighter than now.
 
You were very dexterous then
Take a bright, shining thread again,
 
So the shine of the thread, like a spark,
Might subdue, and surmount the dark.
 
October 19th, 1913
 
 
 * * *
 
My friend, youll understand, of course!
Now at this hour of dejection
Like magic, firmly, desperation
Dismays me filling with remorse
 
Why is there so much depression
And pain in my contracted chest?
I dont need lights, and I confess
Im tired of any congregation.
 
Those waiting for the Lord, with bias
The thing they find is just the devil
They are despaired by the revel
Of Satan always telling lies
 
Those showing mercy gentle-willed
And wounding others willy-nilly
Or should we stop attempting, really,
For ailment is the only shield?
 
December 29th, 1912
 
 ***
A cheerful bride, she was happy and gay,
But there came death, and she passed away.
 
Her mother berried her close nearby
The church came down on the pond, half dry.
 
And over the waves of the deepest place
A cross is floating at an even pace.
 
Days, years and ages have come to pass,
But youth has never called on, alas.
 
The house, so tired of waiting for youth,
Has only the mother crowned with ruth.
 
The woman is working with a needle and thread
The shades of the yarns on the floor vibrate.
 
Its quiet and light as it was in her prime.
The granny has no account of time.
 
As old as the hills and as gray as lead,
It seems, she will never ever be dead
 
Amidst the chairs and chests of drawers
The dancing of flies is, as ever, joyous.
There are bundles of scarlet thread on the floor,
A mouse is scratching the wall , as before.
 
The depth of the mirror is quiet and dead,
With the same old woman as gray as lead.
 
The same old thread and the same old mice,
The same old image looking so nice.
 
It is in a frame, as dark as the sky,
As always, appearing modest and shy.
 
The faded appearance is quite apathetic,
The clew of the thread is cheerful and hectic
 
Deep are the rows of the rooms on the right,
And the same old garden blooms outside,
 
As green as the world and as high as the night,
As tender as dearest daughter that died
 
Come back, do come back. The thread wont decay.
I want to peacefully pass away.
 
June 3d, 1905
 
 
 ***
 to Chulkov
Dont build a house by a drowned current
Where life is bustling under a strain;
Believe me, the end is always recurrent,
Its incomprehensible, solemn and plain.
 
Like a bedtime story your fate is quiet;
Lonely heart, you had better give in and be blessed.
Go in silence to Vespers, esteemed and desired,
And pray wherever it suits you best.
 
May your visitor be as light as an angel;
Receive him as if he were from your dream
Keep mum so that no one might notice the stranger
that sat on a bench and flashed by like a gleam.
 
The meaning of silence will be unknown,
So will the quiet and simple thought.
Yes. She will come with the glare of dawn
And kiss on the lips through nobodys fault.
 
June 1905
 
 ***
 I knew her as far back
 as those unbelievable years.
Tutchev
With years you havent changed, my fair:
Youre charming, strict, as clear as day;
The only change is in your hair,
Its sleek and with a flash of gray.
 
Well, as for me, Im sitting here,
Over my books, back at my place,
With an inscrutable idea
Im looking at your quiet face.
 
The years, they havent changed us, really,
We live the way we did before,
Fantastic years, we love them dearly
And will remember evermore
 
Their spirit is in azure darkness,
Their ashes in the urn of dust.
Its more and more relaxed and lustrous
To breathe remembering the past.
 
May 30th, 1906.
 
 

 ***
 
I bless my lucky stars above,
A better fate I dont desire.
My heart, so much you youve been in love!
My mind, so oft youve been afire!
 
Though happy times and grievous torments
Have left their bitter trace, all right,
Yet in the boredom, storm and torrents
I havent lost my former light.
 
You whom I tormented, forgive me.
We shouldnt go divided ways.
What cant be said in words, believe me,
I have discovered in your face.
 
I have my eye on it and worry,
My heart is beating in dismay,
At night, through darkness, snow and flurry
It goes its own righteous way.
 
January 15th , 1912

 ***
 
When you are on my way,
So live and so beautiful,
So tired and weary,
Talking sadly
And thinking of death,
You dont love anyone
And despise your beauty, -
Well, can I possibly hurt you?
 
Oh no! Im not an oppressor,
Nor an arrogant man nor a liar,
Though I know many things,
And have been, since my childhood, a thoughtful man,
And I care too much for myself.
After all, Im a writer,
A man calling things by their proper names,
Depriving a flower of delicate fragrance.
 
No matter how much one talks about sad things
No matter how much one thinks of the beginning and the end,
I dare think anyway,
That youre only fifteen,
And I wish you fell in love with an ordinary man
That loves the earth and the sky
More than the rhymed and unrhymed speeches
About the earth and the sky.
 
I will really be glad for you,
For only a loving man has the right to be called a Human being.
 
February 6th, 1908

 
 ***
 
I know your face so well, my fair,
It feels like you have lived with me.
At home, at parties, - everywhere
Your dainty look is what I see.
 
Your footsteps follow me wherever
I go or happen to be in.
Somebody chases me as ever
Isnt it you , - the one I mean?
 
Its you who flashes by, my fair,
The moment I am at the door,
Invisible, and light as air,
Like an amazing dream I saw.
 
I saw you in the graveyard, dear,
You sat in silence, looking blue,
A maid in cotton kerchief here,
I wonder, was it really you?
 
I came up closer, you were sitting,
As I approached you went away.
When by the river you were singing
The bells responded with a play.
 
The sound of ringing filled the air,
I waited humbly and I cried
Behind the sound of chimes, however,
Your voice had faded out and died
 
And in a while I hear no answer.
The kerchief flashes up ahead
I sadly hope there is a chance that
Well see each other somewhere yet.
 
August 1, 1908
 
 

 ***
 
Turning red, temple stairsare fading.
Did you tell me youd keep the date?
At the entrance to eventide praying
I have opened my heart. I will wait.
 
I dont know my intent and desire.
I may die of relief and delight.
All aflame in the evening fire,
I will bring you to flaring light.
 
Scarlet flame engulfs the environs
Dreams have come, unexpectedly, true
You are coming. Theres infinite highness
Over me, and the temple, and you.
 
December 25th, 1902

 ***
 
Streets were empty, it was just another
Boring night !
Why were you so innocent, and rather
Filled with pride?
 
Drops of soaking darkness falling down
I will rise,
And Ill throw a challenge, with a frown,
To the skies.
 
Theres no happiness on earth, undoubted,
Here we stand.
Now and then we think about it
Gun in hand..
 
And again we laugh and shed a tear,
Life goes on!
Well, its just another day; its clear:
Well be gone!
 
November 4th, 1908
 ***
 
Worlds, years go by. The universe is bare.
Its eyes of gloom are staring at us.
And you, my soul, worn-out, unaware,
Hold forth that happiness will come to pass
 
And what is happiness? The chilly evenings
In darkening gardens, god-forsaken wood?
Or vicious taste of wine, and wanton feelings,
Perdition of the soul, and jovial mood?
 
Is happiness a moment, brief and solid?
Is it oblivion, a dream, and peace and quiet?..
As you wake up - its flight again, so horrid,
Touching your heart, unknown crazy flight
 
You take a breath - and see youre out of danger
Thats where you feel a sudden push again!
The spinning-top set going by some stranger
Flies buzzing in a hurry, like insane.
 
As we get hold of sharp and sliding border
And listen to the buzzing sound of chime,-
Dont we go mad amidst the motley order
And change of made-up reasons, space and time?..
 
When will it stop? We wont be able, really,
To listen to this din without end...
How terrible it is ! How wild ! Extremely! -
Give me a hand, forget it all, my friend!
 
July 2, 1912

 
 ***
 
Oh no ! You cannot disenchant my heart
With flatter, beauty, or appreciation.
Ill be a stranger, someone far apart,
A ghost, devoid of life, in your imagination.
 
Youll go away. And you will kiss devoutly
A snow-white shroud, and by candle lights
Youll dream and fancy burying someone sadly
And standing at the head three days and nights.
 
Content with the amazing dreamy hours
You will reproach your life in the extreme.
And you will decorate with tender flowers
The burial hill you fancied in your dream.
 
And suddenly youll see my shade appear
Before you on the ninth and fortieth day:
Unrecognized, uncomely, plain and drear,
The kind of shade you looked for, by the way!
 
With time your grieves and sorrows will fade out,
And you will humbly want to start another life
With dreams and tales you cannot do without
For simple beauty you will wish and strive.
 
He will turn up, well-known, long awaited,
To wake you up from the unearthly rest.
And spring, the last one, so anticipated,
Will take you to another world, so blessed
 
And I will die, forgotten by you, darling,
The day your new companion comes to stay,
The moment you decide to tell him, smiling,
That all your pains and troubles are away.
 
You will forget my name and burial mound
But then - you will wake up and see its dark.
Caressing him, youll suddenly come round,
Remember me and ask me to come back!
 
Devoutly, youll stretch your hands, my dear,
At night, so desolate, my poor heart of gold!
Alas, the sounds of life dont reach the ear
Of those consoled by the unknown world.
 
You will condemn, afflicted and austere,
Your life that left no chance to love for you!
But in my verse youll find the answer, dear:
Its hidden warmth will help you live anew.
 
December 15th, 1913
 

 The Double
One day in foggy October
I walked recollecting a song,
(The instance of kissing all over!
Caresses that cannot be wrong!)
At last in the foggy October
There came the forgotten song.
 
I dreamed I was young and not worried,
And you were as live as a bloom
My dream took me out and carried
Away from the wind, rain and gloom
(Thats how by our dreams we are scurried
So will you come back, live as a bloom?)
 
And then, emerging from darkness,
A staggering youth, comes to me.
(Oh what an amazing likeness
To someone I happened to see!)
Emerging from foggy darkness,
A staggering youth, comes to me.
 
Im tired of roaming - he grouses-
And taking the air, so cold,
Reflecting in mirrors of others
And kissing those girls, young and old
I fancied that some day or other
Id meet him again in this world
 
Then, smiling with self assertion,
 He vanished for ever more
Sad imageI had the impression
That I had seen it before
Perchance it was me whom I saw
Turn up as a mirror reflection?
 
October, 1909
 ***
At night I was conceived and born.
Oh my! I saw the light:
So mournful was my mothers moan,
So black the hollow night.
 
And when it cleared up anew
The day got filled with schemes,
With lots of tedious things to do.
Dull, boring heaps of things.
 
Whatever happens, let it be-
The organ played. Somehow
Since childhood its been known to me, -
I am a poet now.
 
Affection blossomed in my curls,
And sorrow still remains.
So many times, so many girls
Have kept me locked in chains.
 
And life went on the way it should:
Love, poems grief and fun.
The quiet stream took, as it would,
All in its bed at one.
 
The night was blind, and so was I.
Thats what I wanted, too
One day they dug my grave - oh my! -
And said: God be with you!
 
That night the ice began to break
And flood the river-bed.
I thought the river was awake,
And so I went ahead.
 
That night the stream was dark as pitch,
And entering the night
A woman turned up on the bridge
Just like a beam of light
 
She was a living flame on ice,
A flare of wine and snow.
And if you looked into her eyes
What she was like youd know.
 
She took me gently by the hand
And looked me in the face.
She gave a cover to me and
A ring with silver lace.
 
Stop living, and dont say a word,
Im like a ringing storm.
Im living in a different world,
And yet I am bright and warm.
 
She calls and tempts me. And I see
Snow has swept up the earth.
Whats there that rings and sings for me?
Another life? Or death?
 
April 12th, 1907
 ***
 
Although I have never loved,
And to break my oath Im bound,-
Whenever I see you around
You stir up my soul and my blood!
 
Your hands, they are far and yonder !
Into these boring days
You bring your charm and your grace
Even when we are asunder!
 
In my abode, not warm,
Desolate, cold and abandoned,
And in my dream ever bounded
I see the forsaken home.
 
I dream about old instants,
As well as the bygone days
It seems that my thoughts and ways
Are bound with your existence!
 
Whoever might call I wont come
And have the fussy caresses
Instead of the hopeless cases.
So I withdraw and keep mum.
 
October 8th, 1915
 
 * * *
 
Im Hamlet. And my blood runs cold
When treachery is up to scheming;
My only love in the whole wide world.
Is in my heart, among the living.
 
Ophelia, the cold of life
Has taken you away, my dear;
The prince of Demark , in a strife,
Hit with a blade, I am dying here.
 
February 6th, 1914

 ***
He that hath the bride is the bridegroom:
but the friend of the bridegroom,
which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly
 John, III, 29
I am a boy, I light a candle
And keep the incense burning on.
Beyond the river, in a huddle,
Shes laughing in a muffled tone.
 
I like the evening public prayer,
The church up by the river side,
The dusk , the muddy bluish air,
The village in the eventide.
 
Resigning to the tender brows,
Admiring the charm of all
I throw a bunch of snow-white flowers
Into the yard, across the wall.
 
And then the hazy screen will fall and
The bridegroom will step down the shrine.
And from the forest border onward
The wedding day will break and shine.
 
July 7th, 1902
***
The way it used to be, my soul is lighted
By the unfading glow of bygone days.
But early autumn, like a wistful haze,
Has blown a whiff, despairing and blighted.
Dark night. Were going separate ways.
The sound is distinct, the way it used to be,
And all my sins are in your holy prayers.
Ophelia, my nymph, remember me.
My soul is being vainly filled, in trepidation,
With distant and delightful recollection
May 28th, 1900
* * *
My earthly heart gets cold and all,
But I sustain the shivers boldly.
I keep my love of people fondly,
Unanswered reverence, in my soul.
 
But love is followed by discord
Which ripens into strong intention
To read oblivion or award
In mens and ladies reflection.
 
Well, let them call. Forget it all!
Go back to your sweet home, you poet!
Oh no! Id better freeze and fall!
There is no peace on earth - I know it.
 
1911- February 6th, 1914
***
As I was growing old and fading,
A poet, used to streaks of grey,
I wanted to postpone the ending
The aged men should face some day.
 
A sickly man, a puny creature,
Im looking for a lucky star,
And in my senile dreams I picture
A lovely image, now so far.
 
Perchance I have forgotten something,
I dont believe in such a lie.
This tremor has aroused nothing.
Im neither moved nor touched. Not I!
 
These old time silly tales and stories
Have fascinated me somehow,
But Ive been bowed by age and worries,
Its funny, I am a poet now
 
I dont believe in books and omens
Of silly men of our times!
Damn all those dreams! Damn all those moments
Of my prophetic doggrel rhymes!
 
So here I am, alone and lonely
An angry man, decrepit, sick
I stretch my hand and with a quandary
Bend down to pick my walking stick
 
Whom should I trust? Whom should I doubt?
Those doctors, poets, priests and all
If only I could join a crowd
And learn to be a trivial soul!
 
June 4th, 1903, Bad Nauheim
***
With inspiration and such sweetness
The princess sang about May.
I said : Just wait, my dear princess,
Youll have to cry for me some day.
 
She cuddled to me drawing near
And said: Oh no, forgive me, pray.
Go fighting sword in hand, my dear.
I will safeguard you on your way.
 
Go. Youll come back desplaying boldness
With feeling of your duty done.
I will retain the ice and coldness,
Remaining yours, locked up, at one.
 
The passers-by will stop and stare,
The years will moderately float
There will be rustling in the air
And clear water in the moat
 
Yes, I will meet you, though belated,
Ill stretch my hand rejoiced, you bet!
My warrior, so long awaited,
With spring upon the spearhead.
 
The haze has fallen on the turret,
The castle, you and everything.
Im sorry, princess. Ive been hurried
To find and bring the flaming spring.
 
October, 1906
***
With inspiration and such sweetness
The princess sang about May.
I said : Just wait, my dear princess,
Youll have to cry for me some day.
 
She cuddled to me drawing near
And said: Oh no, forgive me, pray.
Go fighting sword in hand, my dear.
I will safeguard you on your way.
 
Go. Youll come back displaying boldness
With feeling of your duty done.
I will retain the ice and coldness,
Remaining yours, locked up, at one.
 
The passers-by will stop and stare,
The years will moderately float
There will be rustling in the air
And clear water in the moat
 
Yes, I will meet you, though belated,
Ill stretch my hand rejoiced, you bet!
My warrior, so long awaited,
With spring upon the spearhead.
 
The haze has fallen on the turret,
The castle, you and everything.
Im sorry, princess. Ive been hurried
To find and bring the flaming spring.
 
October, 1906

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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