In A Restaurant by Alexander Blok

Will I ever forget it, that mythical night:

in the blaze of the setting sun

an abyss divided the sky in two

and the street lamps came on one by one.


I sat in a crowd by the window while somewhere

an orchestra sang about love;

I sent you a rose in a glass of champagne

as gold as the heavens above.


Returning your arrogant look with a mixture

of pride and confusion, I bowed;

with studied disdain you turned to your escort:

‘That one, too, is in love with me now.’


All at once the ecstatic strings thundered out

in response… But still I could see

from your show of contempt, from the tremor that shook

your hand, that your thoughts were with me.


You jumped up from your place with the speed of a bird

that’s been startled; your languid perfume,

the swirl of your dress as you passed, died away

like a vision that’s over too soon.


But out of its depths a mirror reflected

your glance as you cried: ‘Now’s your chance!’

And a gypsy, jangled her beads, sang of love

to the dawn and started to dance.


by Александр Александрович Блок (Alexander Alexandrovich Blok)


translated by Stephen Capus


The Sugar Angel by Alexander Blok

Through the closed nursery doors, the sugar angel

stares through the chink to see

the children playing at the Christmas party,

the brightly candled tree.


Nana is making up the crackling fire,

a blaze for Christmas Day.

Only the sugar angel – he is German –

wastes, warm and sweet, away.


First comes the softening of his little feathers,

the melting of his feet,

the tiny head falls back, he makes a puddle,

minute and warm and sweet.


And then the puddle dries away. The mistress

looks everywhere in vain,

while old deaf Nana, who remembers nothing,

grumbles and looks again.


You fragile creatures of our dearest daydreams!

Break, melt and vanish away

in the bright-burning blaze of hourly happenings,

the clatter of everyday.


Only a little mischevious girl, recalling

the breath of days departed,

will weep for you in secret for a moment.

A child is tender-hearted.


by Александр Александрович Блок (Alexander Alexandrovich Blok)


translated by Frances Cornford and Esther Polianowsky Salaman