Poor poet, was that really you,
addressing the moon in rhyme?
My eyes were dulled so long ago
by love, by cards and wine.
The moon climbs through the window frame.
White light, so white it blinds you…
I bet on the Queen of Spades,
but I played the Ace of Diamonds.
by Сергей Александрович Есенин (Sergei Alexandrovich Yesenin)
a.k.a. Sergey Yesenin / Esenin
translated by Boris Dralyuk
We’re all drunkards here. Harlots.
Joylessly we’re stuck together.
On the walls, scarlet
Flowers, birds of a feather,
Pine for clouds. Your black pipe
Makes strange shapes rise.
I wear my skirt tight
To my slim thighs.
Windows tightly shut.
What’s that? Frost? Thunder?
Did you steal your eyes, I wonder,
From a cautious cat?
O my heart, how you yearn
For your dying hour…
And that woman dancing there
Will eternally burn.
– by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova) (1 January, 1913)
– from Четки (Rosary, 1914), translation by D. M. Thomas