not a pretty picture. not a good. not a bad. picture. but an argument.

Monday, December 5, 2011

your name is a -

Poems For Blok

Your name is a - bird in my hand
a piece of - ice on the tongue
one single movement of the lips.
Your name is:  five signs,
a ball caught in flight, a
silver bell in the mouth

a stone, cast in a quiet pool
makes the splash of your name, and
the sound is in the clatter of
night hooves, loud as a thunderclap
or it speaks straight into my forehead,
shrill as the click of a cocked gun.

Your name - how impossible, it
is a kiss in the eyes on
motionless eyelashes, chill and sweet.
Your name is a kiss of snow
a gulp of icy spring water, blue
as a dove.  About your name: sleep deepens.

Marina Tsvetaeva  1916


  1. i love this poem very much. this translation is by elaine feinstein, except for the last line. i had a problem with the last line as she translated it, this exceptional poem. (who am i to have this problem?) as she translates it it reads: About your name is: sleep. i much prefer it laid out this way, About your name: sleep deepens. (again, who am i to tamper?) i used the translation by Ilya Kaminsky and Jean Valentine to adjust this poem, however, i don't feel their entire translation is as powerful. it can be read here:

    a silver bell in the mouth!


  2. Oh! this is unbelievably vibrant. The bell, indeed. It stings and rings. I've read a bit of Blok and Tsvetaeva, but oddly enough, not this. I've posted something similar on my blog. Thank you so much for posting this.

  3. yes, yes, poetry is a conversation. jane responds with her own poem and i get giddy.


  4. this poem is really nice, makes me melancholy at times, makes you understand how great, immense love is

  5. laura, it does, doesn't it? the poem enters you. you understand immediately how Marina must have felt - as we feel/have felt.

    what a holy kind of love.


  6. i didn't know this poet --- thanks

    love the photo of the curtain --- is that you?

  7. she was new for me, as well.

    this was the first poem of hers i read and for me so far, her best. it is as though the poem called to me to be discovered.

    yes, ted. it is me. somehow, to me, the first is the window and the second, the chair, is the door.



"Words at the limit of hearing, attributable to no one, received in the conch of the ear like dew by a leaf." (philippe jaccottet) or even a quiet presence is appreciated))