|From the book The Evening Song|
|A Childhood Visit to a Village|
|Unfamiliar children, the cold, yarn,|
unknowable snow and a hoof-print
used to say: we don’t know what time you live in
but it looks like the eighteenth century for us.
Now I’m afraid even to imagine
how the fabulous kingdom, the faraway land of Tsar Berendey1
will look at me with its eyes of caves,
bringing misfortune after misfortune without end.
O, such misfortune that would seem
not to be misfortune, but reliable news:
nothing but sorrow is left on the earth;
the truth is a sorrow that follows another sorrow.
These are the paradisal colors of the fiery bird,
the infinite words: be silent!
What kind of water can we take into our mouth
When we keep silent like a cripple warming by a woodstove?
Our heart sank at the thought of our homeland
like the earth beneath an eagle’s flight,
and it seemed that the earth is no more, and it seemed
it’d be better for it just to die.
In the unknown heavenly heights,
where there is no one to search for,
stars move in a closed column,
and continue to entice us,
the sleigh-runners of their glistening
are bared like blades –
into what can be heard before any request
before any silence.
|Slava I. Yastremski and Michel Naydan |
|1 Tsar Berendey: In Russian folktales, like "The Tale of Prince Ivan, the Firebird, and the Gray Wolf," the Tsar has a magic garden that contains golden apples, which have the power of bestowing youth and beauty or that is in some versions where the Firebird lives.|
| ||A Childhood Visit to a Village|