No, not the moon – the bright face of a clock
glimmers to me. How is it my fault
that I perceive the feeble stars as milky?
And I hate Batyushkov’s unbounding arrogance:
What time is it? Someone simply asked –
and he replied to them: eternity!
by Осип Эмильевич Мандельштам (Osip Emilyevich Mandelshtam. His surname is commonly latinised as Mandelstam)
translated by Boris Dralyuk
Fun fact: Such an exchange did occur between Konstanin Batyushkov and his doctor and in his poem ‘For The Tombstone of a Little Girl’ he imagined a dead baby saying to her parents ‘Dear ones, don’t cry! / Envy my ephemerality; / I did not know this life, / And know eternity’ (translation by Peter France).