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Osip Emilevich Mandelstam

O heavens, heavens, see you in my dreams

O heavens, heavens, see you in my dreams!
It is impossible -- you had become so blind,
And day was burned as if a page -- to rims:
Some smoke and ashes, one could later find.

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No, not the moon, but simple dial-plate

No, not the moon, but simple dial-plate
Is lightning me, and ‘tis my nasty fate,
That lights of stars I feel as light internal!

And loftiness of Batyushkov I hate:
'What time is it?' - he had been asked there
late --
And he had answered with curiosity 'Eternal!'

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I could not among the misty clouds

I could not among the misty clouds
Your unstable and painful image catch,
'Oh, my God', I promptly said aloud,
Having not a thought these words to fetch.

As a bird -- an immense bird and sound --
Holly Name flew out of my chest.
And ahead the mist mysterious crowds,
And the empty cage behind me rests.

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A flame is in my blood

A flame is in my blood
burning dry life, to the bone.
I do not sing of stone,
now, I sing of wood.

It is light and coarse:
made of a single spar,
the oak’s deep heart,
and the fisherman’s oar.

Drive them deep, the piles:
hammer them in tight,
around wooden Paradise,
where everything is light.

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To read only children's books

To read only children's books,
To have only childish thoughts,
To throw everything grown-up away,
To rise from deep sadness.

I am deathly tired of life,
I will accept nothing from it.
But I love my poor land,
For I have seen no other.

I rocked in a distant garden
On a plain wooden swing,
Tall dark fir trees
I recall in a hazy fever.

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Stretching taut the silken threads

Stretching taut the silken threads
On a mother-of-pearl shuttle,
O, lithe fingers, begin
Your fascinating lesson.

Ebb and flow of your hands,
Monotonous movements,
No doubt you are conjuring
Some kind of solar fright.

When your broad palm,
Like a shell, flaming,
First dies down, drawn to the shadows,
Then sinks at last in a rosy light.

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I've lost a delicate cameo

'I've lost a delicate cameo,
Somewhere on the Neva's shore.
I pity the charming Roman girl,'
You said to me, almost in tears.

But why, fair Georgian beauty,
Stir up the dust on a sacred tomb?
Another downy snowflake
Melted on her eyelid's fan.

You bowed your gentle neck.
Alas, no cameo, no Roman girl.
I pity the tawny Tinotine -- virgin
Rome on the Neva's shore.

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The Greeks planned for war

The Greeks planned for war
On the delightful island of Salamis.
From the harbor of Athens, you could see it
Seized by the enemy's hand.

And now our friends the islanders
Are fitting out our ships.
Earlier the English didn't love
The sweet European soil.

O, Europe, new Hellas,
Save the Acropolis and Pireus.
We do not need the island's gifts,
A forest of uninvited ships.

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Nature's the same as Rome, was reflected in it

Nature's the same as Rome, was reflected in it.
We see images of its civic might
In the clear air, as in the sky-blue circus,
In the forum of fields, the colonnade of the grove.

Nature is the same as Rome, again it seems
We have no reason to trouble the gods.
We've got the viscera of the sacrifices
To tell the fortunes of war, and slaves
To keep the silence, and stones with which to build.

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This

This is what I most want
unpursued, alone
to reach beyond the light
that I am furthest from.

And for you to shine there-
no other happiness-
and learn, from starlight,
what its fire might suggest.

A star burns as a star,
light becomes light,
because our murmuring
strengthens us, and warms the night.

And I want to say to you
my little one, whispering,
I can only lift you towards the light
by means of this babbling.

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