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

Monday, August 19, 2013

dear spectre of mist I know this is dreaming

from: Selected Poems, "Poems For Blok", by Marina Tsvetaeva
(translated by Elaine Feinstein)

from:  9

A weak shaft of light through the blackness of hell is
your voice under the rumble of exploding shells

in that thunder like a seraph he is announcing
in a toneless voice, from somewhere else, some

ancient misty morning he inhabits, how he
loved us, who are blind and nameless       who

share the blue cloak of       sinful treachery
and more tenderly than anyone loved the woman who

sank more daringly than any into the night       of evil,
and of his love for  you, Russia, which he cannot end.

from:  6

Thinking him      human      they
decided to kill him, and
now he's dead.  For ever.
-Weep.  For the dead angel.

At the day's setting, he
sang the evening beauty.

from :  10

Look there he is, weary from foreign parts,
a leader without body-guard

there - he is drinking a mountain stream from his hands
a prince without native land.

He has everything in his holy princedom there
Army, bread and mother.

Lovely is your inheritance.


  1. this too could have been the accompanying poem:

    I Know The Truth

    I know the truth - give up all other truths!
    No need for people anywhere on earth to struggle.
    Look - it is evening, look, it is nearly night:
    what do you speak of, poets, lovers, generals?

    The wind is level now, the earth is wet with dew,
    the storm of stars in the sky will turn to quiet.
    And soon all of us will sleep under the earth, we
    who never let each other sleep above it.

    marina 1915

  2. Replies
    1. and thank you for coming for a look, aimmee))


  3. amazing image you captured, erin.

    both pieces are great. i like the last best. possibly because i have been struggling with the notion that the truth is as simple as the piece states, but in procaliming it I am not letting others 'sleep'. sigh.

    1. steven, it was actually quite early one morning as a storm gathered over the point on one of the great lakes. i stop and remember it now and know the thunder as a kind of thunder i do not normally know, as though a different creature makes it over lake superior. (i live closer to huron.)

      and i am sorry. i cheated just a little. tsvetaeva is not quite as optimistic as she seems here. i omitted the last line of section 10 because of the truth and resonance of it as it stands alone, if only we could recognize its truth and resonance, eh. the end of the poem actually reads: "Lovely is your inheritance./Govern, friend without friends." as the poem is addressed to alexander blok, the great Russian poet whose faith in the wisdom of humanity ended, the angel who is killed by man's ignorance, then we have no choice but to face our ignorance more sternly at tsvetaeva's hand.

      truth is as simple as it is. man and man's ego stir the simple pot to havoc. we have our life's work all wrong. it is not for progress. it is for thanks. arse backwards, we are.


  4. yep.

    none the less, i need to read marina again.


"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))