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 The Beginning of a Book
3.Sant Alessio. Roma

Roman swallows,
the swallows of Aventine,
when you fly
shutting your eyes tightly

(oh, how long I’ve known that
all that flies has become blind
and that’s why birds can say: Lord!
as a human cannot!)

when you fly
who knows to or from where
past branches of orange trees and Italian pines…
a fugitive returns to his parents’ home,
which is deep-lying and age-old, like water in a well.

No, not everything will disappear,
not everything will vanish.
This insignificance,
this needed-by-nobodiness,
a mother and bride will not know
will not disappear.

Oh, how nice finally.
Oh, how nice that everything
that people want so much and for which they beg so much,
for which they give up
what is most precious –

that all this turns out to be totally unnecessary.

You didn’t recognize him – but who will?
What’s left?
Just sores and bones

Dry bones, as in the valley of Jehoshaphat1.

Slava I. Yastremski and Michel Naydan


Sant Alessio. Roma

Roman swallows
swallows of the Aventina,
you fly here and there,
eyelids tightly furled

in a scowl. For ages Iʼve know
that all creatures with wings are blind,
and thatʼs why birds cry, “O Lord!”
in a more human voice than ours.

You fly here and there,
who knows where from, where to,
where to, where from, who knows,
past the branches of orange and stone-pine…
The fugitive returns to his parent’s house
like water to a deep old well.

No, not everything is lost,
Not everything vanishes.
That, “whatʼs the use of it?”
That, “oh what does it matter?”
That something even a mother, a wife
will never find out – that wonʼt disappear.
How good to know, in the end,
how good it is, that everything
people want, people beg for,
everything theyʼd give their all for
turns out not to matter at all.

So no-one recognized it? How could they?
After all, what does last?
Nothing but putrefying flesh and bones,
bones bleached dry, as in the valley of Jehoshaphat.

Catriona Kelly and Robert Reid

1 Valley of Jehoshaphat: also known as the valley of Kidron, to the East of the Jerusalem Heights, and used as a burial ground since ancient times. It is mentioned in Jeremiah 31, 40 as the “valley of the dead bodies, and of the ashes”; in Orthodox tradition, it is the valley where the Last Judgment will begin, as anticipated in Prophet Ezekielʼs vision of divine doom, read the vigil for Easter Saturday.
To His Holiness John Paul II
To His Holiness John Paul II
2.The Nothing
 To His Holiness John Paul II
3.Sant Alessio. Roma
A Letter
Portrait of the Artist in a Middle-Age
The Subway. Moscow
The Angel of Rheims
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