About the Author

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 The Wild Rose
Legends and Fantasies
(1976 - 1978)
Cat, Butterfly, Candle
Chat séraphique, chat étrange
Ch. Baudelaire

I will light this weak narrative
like a candle in the light
from suspicion, muttering
from faltering in flight:
let the spirit, returned from the woods,
half-looking, half-sleeping,
roll up on the rug, like a cat:
the seraphic, silent cat –
and its most precious malachite eyes
will recognise in me an event.


A disturbing force looks on –
the water that has not yielded to us.
It once came out
to meet the first ships,
it chilled around the Argo,
like death itself, but looked with it,
and its prophetic sides
unclenched and clenched,
as music does its beginning,
as the iris round the pupil.


We will go, like a spell,
into the cat’s vision, into nowhere,
into a shadow, reflected in shining,
into the shining of the shadow on the water:
the soul crowns the generations,
like dream-sleep, the enemy of awakening,
crowns the vigilant day, –
and a little mirror flies above us,
holding in its magic amalgam
the shadow of an unprecedented face.


What if a moth
flies in –and will turn time round
and longing to reflect something,
will strike out and mark –
you will not be drawn to turn round,
splashing life out of the saucer,
to there, where everything has happened:
where the dumb scene of an appearance
uniquely, faithfully
looks in the Narcissus glass.


But risking being caught
the spirit searched out myriads
of fluttering close together
magnifying mirrors.
When the fragment of reflection
arouses in the child suspicion
of something that is more looking than sight -
quicker than we jerk back our hand
seeing an adder in the raspberry-canes,
the spirit will become withdrawn from us.


But oh grief! filling with shadow,
madly loving to take a step –
and to tear vision from vision,
and to turn light from light! –
and the matter of existence,
again without centre and name
scattered among the others,
like dust pierced with consciousness
and endless compassion
and the calling of the living...


Priceless, cat’s candle!
You fill this house
with which memory walks in tears,
like a madman with a lantern.
The soul, crowning the generations
is not dream-sleep, the enemy of awakening,
but only a free step into sleep.
You shine in the dacha night,
in surroundings that are opaque for the heart,
in the garden high as an attic.


And you shine beyond the limit
of that darkness where I live,
so that the darkness could be more beautiful
and the dream could see in reality
a sober, dense shining,
the golden shining of vigil,
that remembers it:
as though the whole soul had fallen
to the earth, from which was disappearing
the most loved being...
Richard McKane
The Wild Rose
Second Legend
Sixth Legend
Seventh Legend. Death of Alexis the Roman Saint
Selva Selvaggia
Now in warm gold, in broad bindings...
Preamble to the Song
Strange Journey
The Flight of the Prodigal Sun
Night Legend. The Nun’s Funeral
Candlemas Day
Names fly out of the magical horn...
 Cat, Butterfly, Candle
Water: The Peasant Woman
Eight Octets
In The Mood of Leopardi
I carry two books, as I go I am leaving...
We shall walk slowly and listen attentively...
I often dream of death offering...
Legends about ascetics are similar...
I cannot make them stop their music...
Three Mirrors
Farewell Wind
Somewhere in the corner of a neglected illness...
Journey of the magi
Mountain Lullaby
Morning in The Garden
The Cat’s Look
Azarovka. A Suite of Landscapes
Portrait of the Artist in his Picrure
Tenth Legend. Jacob
Eleventh Legend. Supper
Twelfth Legend. Sergey Radonezhsky
Magic Stone
A Faible
“I raise the radiance, like a fallen hand...
The Old Poet
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