Three poems

In Paris

 

Starlit houses, and sky below,

Earth dazed in the nearness.

The same secret longing though

In Paris, so vast and joyous.

 

The evening boulevards noisy,

The last ray of light dies,

Couples, paired round me,

Fierce lips, insolent eyes.

 

I’m alone. It’s sweet to rest

My head on a chestnut tree.

As in far Moscow, my breast

Throbs to Rostand’s poetry.

 

Paris at night, painful strangeness,

Dear the heart’s ancient folly!

I’m going back to violets, sadness,

A portrait of someone kind to me.

 

There that gaze, pensive, a brother,

There that mild profile, on the wall.

Rostand, L’Aiglon that martyr,

And Sarah – in dream I find them all!

 

In Paris, so vast and joyous,

I dream of clouds and grass,

Laughter, shadows, ominous,

And the pain that will not pass.

 

Paris, June 1909.

Marina Tsvetaeva

(Note: Rostand’s play L’Aiglon concerns the unhappy life of the Duke of Reichstadt, the son of Napoleon I and Marie Louise, lived under the surveillance of Metternich at the Schönbrunn Palace. The drama was produced, on the 15th March 1900, by Sarah Bernhardt, at her own theatre, she herself playing the part of the Duke.

http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/Russian/Tsvetaeva.htm#_Toc254018895)

 

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‘To kiss the brow – eases anxiety.’

 

To kiss the brow-eases all anxiety.

I kiss the brow.

 

To kiss the eyes – cures insomnia’s misery.

I kiss the eyes.

 

To kiss the lips – one’s no longer thirsty.

I kiss the lips.

 

To kiss the brow – erases memory.

I kiss the brow.

 

                                                  5th June 1917.

Marina Tsvetaeva

 

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‘Go, find yourself naïve lovers, they’

 

Go, find yourself naïve lovers, they

Won’t correct marvels by number.

I know that Venus was – hand made,

I’m a craftsman, with craft encumbered.

From the highest solemnity, dumb,

To the soul almost trampled to death,

Here’s the whole celestial stair – from

My breathing – to: not one breath!

 

                                                  18th June 1922

Marina Tsvetaeva

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Helen’s Return

Come, eternal Pair [1],
Come, Twin Brethren, from your heaven ascended;
Down the steep of air
Drive, by many a starry glance attended!
‘Mid the waters white and blue,
‘Mid the rolling waves be there,
And brotherly bring safe your sister through.
Airs from heaven, serene and pure,
Breathe upon her; bless and speed;
Breathe away her cruel shame!
Never he did Paris lure,
Never won her (as they rede)
Of Aphrodite for his meed,
Nor thither led, where never yet she came!

1 Castor and Pollux, brothers of Helen, set in the heavens as the constellation of the Twins and supposed to be propitious to mariners.

 

http://www.poetry-archive.com/e/helens_return_to_greece.html#A5tityGXFXXHALMy.99

Sunday

Dimanche

Entre les rangees d’arbres de l’avenue des Gobelins

Une statue de marbre me conduit par la main

Aujourd’ hui c’est dimanche les cinemas sont pleins

Les oiseaux dans les branches regardent les humains

Et la statue m’embrasse mais personne ne nous voit

Sauf un enfant aveugle qui nous montre du doigt.

(by Jacques Prevert)

 

Sunday

Among the tree lines of Gobelins Avenue

A statue is holding my hand guiding me

Today is Sunday cinemas are busy

The birds in the branches are observing the people

And the statue is kissing me though no one can see us

A blind child only is pointing at us with his finger.

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