Thursday, April 15, 2010

Selected poems - Osip Mandelstam

After midnight the heart picks the locked silence
right out of your hands. Then it may remain
quiet, or it may raise the roof.
Like it or not, it's the only one of its kind.

Like it or not, you may know it but you'll never catch it,
so why shiver, now, like a thrown-out child?
After midnight the heart has its banquet,
gnawing on a silvery mouse.
Moscow. March 1931

My eyelashes are pins. In my chest one tear is boiling.
I'm not frightened to know that the storm will go on and on.
Some ghoul tries to hurry me, make me forget,
but even when I can't breathe I want to live till I die.

Hearing something, sitting up on the boards,
I look around wildly, still half asleep.
It's a prisoner intoning a rough song, at the hour
when dawn draws the first thread, outside the jail.
Moscow. March 1931

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