‘Flying in at my window’ by Varlam Shalamov

Flying in at my window,

a moon like a snow jay

scrapes claws on walls,

flutters over my pillow


Scared of confinement

in pages or dwelling,

my homeless darling –

in midnight finery.


by Варлам Тихонович Шаламов (Varlam Tikhonovich Shalamov)


translated by Robert Chandler

I Pardon All Your Sins by Sofia Parnok

I pardon all your sins –

but two I can’t abide:

you read poems in silence

and kiss aloud.


So sin, blossom, be merry –

but take my advice:

a kiss, my darling, is not for the ear,

and music is not for the eyes.


by София Яковлевна Парнок (Sophia Yakovlena Parnok) (1931)

translated by Robert Chandler