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
Pitcher: Tombstone of a Friend
You want – a pitcher, you want – a spear, you wan t– a distaff.
And if they lied when they spoke of the ringlet, about how it was
              found in the sky,
They lied for a reason.
In the most trivial thing, saddened minds will discover
the matter that makes up constellations,
the sounds of inaudible names, –
                         it will burst into flame and curl upwards,
like a garland in garlands which soothe mortal hearts:

Every evening Perseus rescues Andromeda – everyone knows
which star it is that saves him, having snapped up
the one who is no longer with us. Give him whatever you want.
You want a pitcher, you want a spear, you want a distaff,
whatever comes up, as he won’t ask for more. And then that will be able
to become like everything. All one must do is to not clutch at everything.
Put copper coins in their places. He’ll figure it out by himself.
He’ll lift up a hand of a kind that we never saw here,
the hand of a constellation: Take it, o boatman, you see,
how we live here on earth:
                                       Distaff. Plow. Spear. Pitcher.

Andrew Wachtel
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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