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 Old Songs
Old Women
Like an old patient artist,
I like to look at the faces
of pious and nasty old women:

Their mortal lips
and the immortal power
that draw those lips together,

(as if an angel were sitting there
and setting out money in piles,
five-kopek coins, lightweight one-kopeks…
“Shoo!” he says to children,
birds, and beggars,
“Shoo,” he says, “Go away;
can’t you see what I’m doing?”)

I look, and sketch in my mind:
like, as it were, myself before a dark mirror.

Gerald S. Smith


Old Women

Patient as an old master,
I love to study the faces
of pious, spiteful old women,

the morality of their lips,
and the immortality of the power
that pressed those lips together,

(like an angel squatting
and stacking coopers in piles,
five copecks, and light copeck pieces…
“Shoo!” he says to the children,
the birds and the beggars,
“Shoo, go away”, he tells them:
can’t you see what I’m doing?”) –

I stare, and in my mind I sketch them,
like my own face, in a glass darkly.

Catriona Kelly
The Unfaithful Wife
 Old Women
A woman’s lot is the spindle...
Adam wept, but he was not forgiven...
The cold of the world...
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