About the Author
Books

POETRY  
PROSE
ESSAYS
INTERVIEW
From the book Kliazma and Yauza
From the book The Wild Rose
From the book Tristan and Isolde
From the book Old Songs
From the book Gates. Windows. Arches  
From the book Stanzas in the Manner of Alexander Pope
From the book Stellae and Inscriptions
From the book The Iambic Verses
The Chinese Travelogue
From An Unfinished Book
From the book The Evening Song
From the book Elegies
From the book The Beginning of a Book
From the book Gates. Windows. Arches
(1979–1983)
The Grasshoper and the Cricket
The poetry of Earth is never dead.
Keats
The poetry of Earth is never dead.
Here up north, when it snows hard
the grasshopper falls silent. But when a blizzard blows,
the cricket starts to strumming like a blind man.
His mind sharp as a sword,
he always keeps his lyre dry and in tune,
the thin wet hair stretched tight.
He is Demodokos among the guests at an invisible feast
and sounds like a whole meadow taken shelter in the house.

The poetry of Earth is not that rich:
a young child and a thin old man,
grasshopper and cricket, follow the same steps
from one place to another –
the distance is vast as a patch
sewn across the gamut of hearing.
Hollow heart-shaped jingle bells
clink like wavy scissors on the golden manes
of young unearthly horses.
Their effigies butt the emptiness in vain.

But the howling chimneys are enough.
Some raise their pale eyes from the snowstorm,
some wander the fields at dawn,
scattering the silver –
the last of it holds everything there is.

The poetry of Earth is never dead,
but when it has an augury of death,
it finds a dependable boat,
throws away the oars and drifts off –
It matters little what befalls it later;
it’s beyond all hope already
and never will forget the way
to ride the waves of sound.
Tell me what under heaven
gives a lovelier view of the heavens
than to drift with open eyes
along the bottom of the sea
like a wounded Tristan?

The poetry of Earth is terribly monotonous.
Striking tiny anvils of obscure sound
the grasshopper and cricket have shackled the ocean.

Gregory Kapelyan, Stephen Sartarelli

***

The Grasshopper and the Cricket

The poetry of Earth is never dead.
Keats

The poetry of the earth does not die.
And here, in the North, when heavy snow comes,
the grasshopper falls silent. But the blizzard starts to play
and the cricket, the blind man, starts to twang.
But his mind is adroit like a rapier.
His dry lyre is always tuned,
the weighty hair is stretched tight.
Amidst the invisible feast
he too is a guest, he is Demodocus.
And it’s as if a whole meadow had climbed onto his perch.

The poetry of the earth is not so rich:
the small child and the thin old man,
the grasshopper and cricket from somewhere to somewhere
wander up the same stair –
and the way is enormous, like a patch
over the entire rent of hearing.
Rattling their empty little hearts
there like curved scissors
they clink above the golden manes
of unearthly steeds, young ones –
and their comparisons sound into emptiness.
But it is enough to have the one who roars in trumpets,
who lifts his pale eyes from the blizzard,
who goes round the meadow at dawn and loses his silver –
and finds everything in their last silver.

The poetry of the earth does not die,
but if it knows it is going to die –
it chooses a trusty little bark,
abandons the oars, and sails away –
and whatever happens after that,
hope has entirely come to ruin
and has therefore not forgotten how
to fly along the wave of hearing.
Tell me, what beneath the heavens
is more kind to the kind heavens,
than to sail with open eyes
on the bottom, like the wounded Tristan?

The poetry of the earth is the most courageous boredom.
On the anvils of mysterious sound
the grasshopper and cricket have forged an ocean.

Gerald S. Smith


***

The Grasshopper and the Cricket

The poetry of Earth is never dead.
Keats

The poetry of earth can never die.
Here in the North, when once the first snow falls,
the grasshopper is still, but blizzards start to whirl
and crickets start to strum like men gone blind.
A cricket’s mind is searching as a sword:
his dry-grass lyre is kept in tune,
each vital thread so tightly strung.
A guest at feasts beyond our sight
Demodocus, the cricket sits
with a whole meadow rustling on his perch.

The poetry of earth is not so rich:
a scrawny ancient and a tiny child,
the hopper and the cricket climb together
from somewhere into somewhere on a ladder,
their journey stretching like a patch
across the gash that hearing made.
Rattling their empty hearts the while,
they clip their scissors’ curving blades
above the springing gilded manes
of horses from the underworld:
analogies resound in emptiness.

Enough to wail like sounding brass,
to raise your whitened eyes from blizzards
and wander through the paling fields,
losing your silver in the grass
yet finding it all in their, that ultimate, silver.

The poetry of earth can never die,
but if it knows that it must go
it picks a hopeful-seeming boat
casts loose the oars, and starts to glide.
No matter what might happen now,
hope has vanished clean away,
which means it’s not forgotten how
to skim the crest of hearings waves.
Tell me what thing below the skies
more pleases heavens pleasantness
than sailing with eyes fixed and wide
in the deep, as the wounded Tristan sailed?

The poetry of earth is most heroic boredom:
and on the anvils of mysterious sound
the grasshopper, the cricket, have beaten out an ocean.

Catriona Kelly
Not by sea, nor by tree, nor by powerful star...
Mountain Ode
An Old Testament Motif
 The Grasshoper and the Cricket
In the Liquor Store
To Lycinius
In the desert of life… What am I saying...
On the Death of Leonid Gubanov
Meeting
Spring
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