Buds will swell just as in the past,
Sprouts of green will spurt and rage,
but your backbone has been smashed,
my grand and pitiful age.
And so, with a meaningless smile,
you glance back, cruel and weak,
like a beast once quick and agile,
at the prints of your own feet.
by Осип Эмильевич Мандельштам (Osip Emilyevich Mandelshtam. His surname is commonly latinised as Mandelstam)
translated by Robert Chandler
It is a gesture against the wild,
The ungovernable sea of grass;
A place to remember love in,
To be lonely for a while;
To forget the voices of children
Calling from a locked room;
To substitute for the care
Of one querulous human
Hundreds of dumb needs.
It is the old kingdom of man.
Answering to their names,
Out of the soil the buds come,
The silent detonations
Of power weilded without sin.
by R. S. Thomas
from The Bread of Truth (1963)