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 Stellae and Inscriptions

To Nina Braginskaya
who has studied antique epitaphs, and much else, insightfully
The Figure of a Woman
                Having turned away,
She stands in a large
and voluminous shawl. It seems there’s a poplar
next to her. It seems that way. There’s no poplar.
But she would be willing to turn into one
just like in the legend –
if only not to hear:
– What do you see there?
– What do I see, you lunatic people?
I see the wide-open sea. That’s easy to guess…
The sea and that’s all.
                  Or is that too little,
for me to eternally grieve, while your curiosity’s piqued?

Andrew Wachtel


Female Figure

         In a long wide veil
she stands, turning her face
away: that looks like a poplar
beside her;
looks deceive; there is no poplar there.
But she herself would gladly become one,
as the old legends have it,
if she could only stop hearing:
– What can you see there?
– What can I see there, you madmen?
The ocean, can you not guess?
The ocean, and nothing more. Or is this not enough,
that I should be grieving for ever, and you
                   pestering me with your questions?

Catriona Kelly
A Boy, an Old Man, and a Dog
 The Figure of a Woman
Two Figures
Mistress and Servant
Pitcher: Tombstone of a Friend
Playing Child
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