The sower walks down the even furrows;
his fathers all furrowed the path he follows.
The young seed glitters gold in his hand,
but it must fall into the black ground.
There, amid the tunnels of the blind worm,
it will die on its due day – and grow again.
So now my soul treads the path of the grain –
down into darkness – and spring’s return.
And you, my people, and you, my native land,
you will die and live, when the dark months end,
for we have been granted only this one truth:
whatever lives must follow the grain’s path.
by Владислав Фелицианович Ходасевич (Vladislav Felitsianovich Khodasevich)
translated by Robert Chandler
The jolt must come from far away:
the start of bread is in the grain.
A stream, although still underground,
aspires to reflect the sky.
A future Sunday’s distant light
reaches us early in the week.
The jolt must come from far away
to trigger earthquakes in the heart.
A shoulder alien to me
controls the movement of my hand.
In order to acquire such strength,
the jolt must come from far away.
by Анна Семёновна Присманова (Anna Semyonovna Prismanova)
a.k.a. Анна Симоновна Присман (Anna Simonovna Prisman)
(late 1930s or early 1940s)
translated by Boris Dralyuk
Fun fact: She is considered comparable to her contemporary, the American poet, Louise Bogan.