Saturday, October 1, 2011

Andrei Bely

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Andrei Bely (pen-name of Boris Nikolaevich Bugaev), born 26 October, 1880; died 8 January, 1934; pictured above circa 1903

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Fields

It is a wolf’s hunched back that bristles
And flashes there along the rise.
Upon the azured snow the shadow
With what light leaps in silence flies.

Now it is dropping down an incline,
Below a fir now shrinks away.
A dog cries in the wintry distance,
Getting the scent, and hugs the sleigh.

What power is theirs: the night, the mournful
Expanse, and panic fantasy,
This thunder-throated icy powder,
The heavens’ austere finery.

(1907)


Bright Death

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.

(1909)

—both poems translated from the Russian by Avrahm Yarmolinsky

Photo abov:Leon Bakst, Portrait of the Poet and Writer Andrei Bely 1905
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