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
Playing Child
     In the premonition, we live through
experiences which will never happen. Great glory.
A wedding night. The wisdom and energy of old age.
Grandchildren – offspring of the son we never had.
No, it is not a daydream tricking the human heart.
The child knows why he is comforted so strangely.
He knows what he is playing with.

We cannot see his face. We are looking at it like a mother
who peers round the door and leaves unnoticed:
he is playing. A white ray on the floor.
         – Let him play a little longer.
I will finish what has to be done.
                Time does not wait. He is playing.

Just before disaster strikes the premonition leaves us:
it is not external, it is within us. It is beautiful
in this silent music, in the white room.
That is how he plays with one’s heart:
a child playing checkers.

Tamar Hodes


Child Playing

In anticipation we live through
what will never be. Great glory.
The wedding night, sage energetic old age.
Grandchildren – the children of a nonexistent son.
No, empty dreams do not play with men’s hearts.
The child knows what soothes him.
What he plays with.

We don’t see the face. We look upon it, like a mother
does, through the door, and peacefully goes away:
he is playing. A white ray on the floor.
          – He’ll play some more,
I’ll have time to do all that I must.
                  Time doesn’t wait, he is playing.

Before the disaster our anticipation deserts us:
Now it’s not external, it’s we ourselves. Sublimely
in this inaudible music, in the white room.
That’s how he plays at the heart,
a child, who’s playing checkers.

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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