Scarped against the sky it rises it’s
Shadow bare of grass and gorse,
Barren are it’s granite ledges, worn
Fine through erosive force,
Shrouded in the firmament it’s peak
Lies cold and stark,
A tomb for scoria and fossils, from
An age that has left it’s mark.
Towering these weathering crags reign
Obscurely above the earth –
A lonely black mountain, sterile since
By Donald Sainsbury
He strokes my neck like the barrel of a rifle
he might have killed that German with,
his boots by the door, susceptible to the cold.
I glow by the fire in tandem with
the rosewood dresser, impartial to flames,
me with a passion for granite, him
with his head shaved against the night,
shedding his armour plate by plate.
I sleep under his shield, enfolded
in an English flag I think will
become my shroud. While I thrill
among the lilies, placing a chestnut
on the grate like a move in chess,
I see the incentive of lace
defeat artillery hands down.
by Samantha Wynne Rhydderch
Interesting info: Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch, sometimes referred to as S. W. Rhydderch, has published two collections, Rockclimbing in Silk (Seren, 2001), and Not in These Shoes (Picador, 2008), which was shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year 2009.
One might suppose that I shall not forget you,
but that won't be because I loved you so,
rather because you chanced to be the fire
which I myself employed to hew my soul.
by Анна Семёновна Присманова (Anna Semyonovna Prismanova)
a.k.a. Анна Симоновна Присман (Anna Simonovna Prisman)
(late 1930s or early 1940s?)
translated by Robert Chandler
Interesting info: She is considered comparable to her contemporary, the American poet, Louise Bogan and challenged traditional ideas of femininity in her poetry as seen in this closing stanza of the poem Granite
City of splendour, city of poor,
spirit of grace and servitude,
heaven’s vault of palest lime,
boredom, granite, bitter cold –
still I miss you rather, for
down your streets from time to time
one may spy a tiny foot,
one may glimpse a lock of gold.
by Александр Сергеевич Пушкин (Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin)
a.k.a. Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin
translated by Anthony Wood
Fun fact: Pushkin is most likely alluding to St Petersburg prior to his exile.
The poet was right: once again –
lantern, side-street, drugstore,
silence, the Neva and its granite…
A monument to our century’s
first years, there he stands, as when,
waving goodbye to Pushkin House,
he drank a mortal weariness –
as if such peace
were more than he deserved.
by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova)
translation by Robert Chandler
Fun Fact: This poem is an homage to Alexander Blok, whose last poem is addressed to Pushkin House in St Petersburg.
Original Russian Cyrillic version:
Он прав — опять фонарь, аптека,
Нева, безмолвие, гранит…
Как памятник началу века,
Там этот человек стоит —
Когда он Пушкинскому Дому,
Прощаясь, помахал рукой
И принял смертную истому
Как незаслуженный покой.