How bare the countryside! What dearth
How stark the hamlets’ desolation…
Long-suffering country of my birth,
poor homeland of the Russian nation.
Never will the stranger’s gaze
look deeper to perceive or guess
what hidden light there is that plays
and shimmers through your nakedness.
In servant’s guise the King of Heaven,
beneath the cross in anguish bent,
has walked the length and breadth of Russia,
blessing her people as he went.
by Фёдор Иванович Тютчев (Fyodor Ivanovich Tyutchev)
translated by Avril Pyman
Fun fact: Counted amongst the admirers of Tyutchev’s works were Dostoevsky and Tolstoy along with Nekrasov and Fet. Then later Osip Mandelstam who, in a passage approved of by Shalamov, believed that a Russian poet should not have copy of Tyutchev in his personal library – he should know all of Tyutchev off by heart.