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 Elegies
for Alexandre Vustin
By the gates of air, as they say now,
before the celestial steppes,
where half-incorporeal salt marshes prepare to float away,
alone, as usual, straying across the splendor
of the oecumene,
distorting various languages,

expecting who knows what: not happiness, not suffering,
not the sudden transparency of nontransparent existence,
listening intently, like a watchdog, I distinguish sounds –
sounds not sounds:
a prelude to music which no one calls “mine.”

For it is more than no one’s:
music that has no tune or tone,
no stock or root, nor bar line,
nor the five lines invented by d’Arezzo,
only shiftings of the unattainable, of height.

Music, sky of Mars, star of archaic battle,
where we are at once and irrevocably defeated
by the approach of armed detachments of distance,
by the beating of breakers,
by the first touch of a wavelet.

I pleaded for yon on the hill of Zion, forgetting
friend and foe, everyone, everything
for the sake of unounding sound,
of unrung ringing,
of your almightiness,
your all-suffering.

This is a city in central Europe
its gates of air:
perhaps Budapest, I think,
but that magnificent display
of embankments and towers I will not see, don’t even wish to,
I’m not sorry at all. In transit.
Music is in transit.

The bubbling of lava in a volcano’s crater,
the chirping of a cricket on a village hearth,
the heart of the ocean, pounding in the ocean’s breast,
as long as it beats, music, we are alive,
as long as no least patch

of land belongs to you,
no glory, no assurance, no success,
as long as you lie, like Lazarus, at another’s gate,
the heart can still look into the heart, like echo into echo,
into the immortal,
into the downpour that, like love, will never cease.

Larissa Volokhonsky and Emily Grosholz
Autumn Water’s Elegy
The Sycamore Elegy
The Beginning
In Memory of a Poet
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