Tears of humanity, tears of humanity,
flowing eternally early and late…
Flowing invisibly, flowing in secrecy,
ever abundantly, ever unceasingly –
flowing as rain flows with autumn finality
all through the night like a river in spate.
by Фёдор Иванович Тютчев (Fyodor Ivanovich Tyutchev)
translated by Peter Tempest
Fun fact: Counted amongst the admirers of Tyutchev’s works were Dostoevsky and Tolstoy along with Nekrasov and Fet. Then later Osip Mandelstam who, in a passage approved of by Shalamov, believed that a Russian poet should not have copy of Tyutchev in his personal library – he should know all of Tyutchev off by heart.
A man with no roots is lost
like the darkness in the forest.
Heart, my heart, what red voices cry
centuries of suffering in my flowing hands?
Love lasts as long as there are
two people, however silent the word.
Love, my love, how may I meet your eyes,
how may I meet the eyes that I will close?
Future, my future, on whose arms
will my hands be planted?
Love, my love, be assured your eyes
will live after you like children.
by Dannie Abse
from Early Poems
People, years and nations
run away forever
like a flowing river.
In nature’s supple mirror
We’re the fish,
dark’s ghosts are gods,
and the constellations
knot night’s nets.
by Велимир Хлебников (Velimir Khlebnikov)
a.k.a. Виктор Владимирович Хлебников
(Viktor Vladimirovich Khlebnikov)
translated by Robert Chandler
Fun fact: This was written shortly before the centenary of Derzhavin’s death, continuing the theme’s of his last poem.