Thursday, February 16, 2017

'IN THE INMOST HOUR OF THE SOUL' --M. TSVETAYEVA







































The sun is one, but marches through all lands.
The sun is mine. I will not share my sun.

Not an hour of it, nor a ray, nor a look. Never. With no one.
Let all cities perish in their perpetual night.

1919

Find yourself trusting women
who have not adjusted miracle with number.
I know that Venus is the result of handwork;
A craftswoman, I know my craft.

From the high solemnity of mutenesses
To the complete debasement of the soul:
The whole divine staircase--from:
Now I'm breathing--to: now you do not.

1922

FROM TREES
VII

She who slept dreamlessly
Winced and stood up.
Like a seeing rock
in the strict gradation of a psalm--

Host of awakening bodies:
Arms--Arms--Arms
Like an army in a shower of arrows
When it's ripe for torture.

Scrolls of chasubles sheer as meshes
Falling apart like dust.
Hands covering groins
Of virgins and, lash-like,

Shameless hands of old men...
The bird of a youngster's hand...
Cavalry at the horn of Judgement!
The Gray-bearded take-off

Standing up waist-high
From under the burial shrouds:
We are a migration. A legion.
A whole nation

Of spectres. Mercy or damnation.
See. Be. Recollect.
...A handful of trees running up
The hill, at nightfall.

VIII

Someone's heading for a fatal victory.
Trees gesture like tragedies.
Sacrificial dance of Judea.
Trees flutter like sacramentals.

This--a conspiracy against the era:
Against weight, number, fraction, and time.
This--a veil torn apart:
Trees kneel like tombstones...

Someone's arriving: Heaven is the entrance.
Trees salute like festivals.

1923

The Crevasse

Fallen into a glacial crevasse:
Chest that has crushed against you so.

Out of the storehouse of semblances
Pick out--at random--your augury:
You sleep in me as in a crystal
Coffin, you sleep in me

As in a deep wound--the crevasse is tight.
The glacier, jealous of its dead:
A ring, a shield, a seal, a belt,
Without return and without answer.

1923

In the inmost hour of the soul and the night
Unmarked on the clock,
I looked in a youth's eyes
Unmarked in anybody's

Nights, reposing
--Without recall and without end--
Like a double millpond. From here
Your life begins.

1923

Make bitter: darken:
Grow: reign.

1923

BEYOND SIGHT

Reciprocity, do not obstruct
The Castalian flow.
Nonpresence: the greater substance
Lying beyond the eye;

Beyond speech, beyond sight,
Like a prolonged la note
Stretching out miles of distance
Between the temptation and the lips.

Blessed are the longitudes, the latitudes of Lethe and zones.
Furthering into you with distance
As with the whole note; stretching out

Into you like a moan;
Striking against you like an echo
Into the chest of granite:
Do not see, do not hear, do not exist--

I've no need for white
Upon black--the chalk of the blackboard.
Nearly beyond the confines
Of soul, beyond the limits of pain--

...The last card of my verbal arrogance has been dealt.
Distance, you are now nothing but
a blank wall to me.

1923

Anguish,
I reshift myself,
I reshape myself.

Under your touch,
I grind myself anew,
I break myself in half.

1925


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