Through fields of love fly venerable comets
like flaring, rushing, rolling conflagrations.
Like molded fires, Hell’s manifestations of
the universe’s warring, biting gauntlets
come from beyond. Let them.
The dark planets see vengeful swords of doom
in our arrival. We head for the sun,
though we are blinded, clad in the winds
and shielded by sparks, but strange indeed,
as soon as we touch the star we change the root
and fly away so far along parabolic paths yet to be marked.
A blind rebellion leads our fate at bid to the neverending dusk.
We said we’d never see again once we departed.

We never heard again once we departed.
The sinner’s prayer is sound and discord.
An earthly god’s communion is reward
from priests in temples never started.
The dreams of madness change our savior.
We are as bees abandoned by the hive.
Like the men of fallen Troy we now strive
and flames predict the time of our failure.
By breathing gusts we are led in dissolution,
long paths unfolding, roads we’ve never walked
we stroll in blindness as a herdless flock,
rolling thunder, earth and lightning fusion,
exploding fires of doubt and disdain –
our dream’s meaning, the world will never gain.

Our dream’s meaning the earth will never dash
when morning murmurs meld in single chorus,
and silken dawns dissolve before us.
The foul scythe will then be burnt to ash,
the rippling grey will crush to diamond dust,
the regrets drowned in the silent ocean,
our spirits liberated by devotion.
The false sun’s glitter will fade at last.
We are neither stunned by midday desert splendor
nor to the jewels our wills surrender, no;
we are dead for golden coin’s sake.
And robed in silken moon rays we are dressed,
by suns that shine at midnight we are blessed,
and at the darkest hour… we are awake.

By suns that shine at midnight we are blessed.
Keen rays descend through mortared spires.
The universe’s race is paced with fire.
The nebulae, the stars, the voided depths
from Cannis Major, to Vega, and to Beta,
to Ursa Major and sad Pleiades
They cross the skies as sage deities
Creating planets like divine excreta
Oh dust of worlds,
Oh pure, holy swarm,
I measured, checked, adapted, scaled and formed,
gave names, drew maps and specified the order,
but starry horror will not let us go.
It makes us call to foul, primal woe,
When will we know the bliss of Lethe’s waters?

Why don’t I know the bliss of Lethe’s waters?
Why does my spirit cry into the night?
It knows not the taste of burning spite.
It pleads not to Satan’s wily daughters.
The circle is broken, and the chants dispelled,
while everyone is bathed in brilliant rays
rejoicing in the wine of passing days
we are drawn to lights beyond the blue sky’s shell.
The rustling grass, the shimmer of the swamps,
a lazy wind plays out a vain rump
and carries out the shade of Persephone
to the hundredfold glowing, who gazes through the gust.
Yet my spirit has a sad mistrust,
crying as I contemplate antiquity.

My spirit cries, entangled by the weeds.
They grew from seeds nourished by blackness,
their poison stuns, they bind in shackles
like horrors sealed in the pyramids,
but neither fireborn marble nor granite
can make a frame immune to the power of the flows
of ageless, primal lava, that runs through our veins
and fills us with might.
The tomb of suns, the urn of the dead world’s ash,
The corpse of moon, and Saturn’s lifeless flesh
are set in mind and taken by the heart.
In dying stars, life is born anew,
but spirit’s force is granted to a few
who hold life’s transcendent pains apart.

We hold life’s transcendent pains apart.
We bear grief and disappointment’s fire.
But the banner of our sorrow’s ire
flutters in the winds of the departed.
Let the biting flames poison our spirit!
Singing spirits smothered by corpses
like Laocoön tangled in knotted snakes,
straining to break free, yet keeping silent.
But no bliss will ever change this pain,
the dignity of this restraint,
the tension, this ecstasy of hopeless prison.
For the balm of Lethe’s oblivion
we rain a grail of sorrows on the world,
we exiles, wanderers, and poets!

We exiles, wanderers, and poets –
who yearned to be but failed to become.
Where birds have nests, beasts their lair homes,
our lot is a staff and beggar’s hovel.
The duty is failed, the promises are broken,
the path unwalked, and our doom is nigh.
Dreams of such roads drowning in a sigh of songs unsung
and poems never spoken.
In shards of will it is so hard to find your own true self,
so hard to confine the foolish pride,
so hard to enter another’s marquee,
and to beg for bread –
hard for the vanguard’s soul to render alive
that never has been truly dead.

They’re not alive, but neither are they dead.
They’re deaf to words, and their touch is senseless.
They’re blunt to smell and their pain is endless.
Their doom, unaltered by any event, is sealed in darkness,
but like giver Phoebus bestows the blind
with overwhelming awe in sight of God,
and the concealed cave is turned to Christmas den
by holy vortex, the primal night who bore him in her womb.
The offspring, sent to her by miser father,
is carrying her gifts to fateful brother,
the one by solar rage who was entombed,
who has become the toy of fateless play,
who is alive, yet destined to be fey.

Entombed, he is destined to be fey,
yet sun’s hot bark is clear to his sight.
From sepulcher that arises from midnight he sees the land.
Wheat splayed in the rays,
mules approach, scythes crop,
a flail beats the ear, rafts drift,
beasts sleep, flitting birds make nests,
and from his shroud’s folds
he sees the fest of days and nights that spill into the years.
Without joy, without tears and pain,
he watches over human’s idle fates with no black thought,
without asking why. Beyond existence, will,
or any wish in knowing peace unknown to you and I;
for to the earth, we are forever banished.

Those, to earth, who are forever hurled,
cannot enjoy the vastness of the fields
as time’s each passing moment yields
the dancing shadows of other worlds.
The soul sees the flicker far and vague
as on the surface of this ancient regret
One tried to read the holy alphabet,
but lost the pattern in his own plague.
And so he walks the dust of earthly sod
in apostate, a self-forgotten god.
In things familiar he seeks forbidden codes.
His flesh, immortal, is shrouded in flames,
and to him, even Death does simply nod,
him who saw the dreams and knew the names.

The ones who saw the dreams and knew the names,
who heard the grasses talking to each other,
who learned the will of their ancient father,
who listened to the songs of tidal waves,
the ones whose souls have been purified,
the ones who are harnessed to the pain of challenge,
who lit their mystic candles on the fringe,
who became a pure shade of darkest nights,
who didn’t squeeze their grape to sinful glass,
and didn’t seek the joys of earthly leisure,
not in the priestess’s dances,
nor in the pleasure,
but who descended into Hell’s morass
to meet their shadow at the very bottom –
they don’t expect hearts with love to blossom.

(The final sections remain untranslated)

Тому в любви не радость встреч дана,
Кто в страсти ждал не сладкого забвенья,
Кто в ласках тел не ведал утоленья,
Кто не испил смертельного вина.
Страшится он принять на рамена
Ярмо надежд и тяжкий груз свершенья,
Не хочет уз и рвёт живые звенья,
Которыми связует нас Луна.
Своей тоски — навеки одинокой,
Как зыбь морей пустынной и широкой, —
Он не отдаст. Кто оцет жаждал — тот
И в самый миг последнего страданья
Не мирный путь блаженства изберёт,
А тёмные восторги расставанья.

А тёмные восторги расставанья,
А пепел грёз и боль свиданий — нам.
Нам не ступать по синим лунным льнам,
Нам не хранить стыдливого молчанья.
Мы шепчем всем ненужные признанья,
От милых рук бежим к обманным снам,
Не видим лиц и верим именам,
Томясь в путях напрасного скитанья.
Со всех сторон из мглы глядят на нас
Зрачки чужих, всегда враждебных глаз,
Ни светом звёзд, ни солнцем не согреты,
Стремя свой путь в пространствах вечной тьмы,
В себе несём своё изгнанье мы —
В мирах любви неверные кометы!

Maximilian Voloshin, 1909
Trans: “Bronislaw Tchaikovsky”

§14 · December 6, 2010 · Poetry · · [Print]

Leave a Reply