I thought about eagles for a long time
And understood a lot:
Eagles fly on heights sublime,
Disturbing people not.
I saw that eagles live on mountains hard to climb,
And make friends with spirits of the skies.
I thought about eagles for a long time,
But confused them, I think, with flies.
by Даниил Иванович Хармс (Daniil Ivanovich Kharms)
a.k.a. Даниил Иванович Ювачёв (Daniil Ivanovich Yuvachov)
(15 March 1939)
translated by Matvei Yankelevich with Ilya Bernstein
The fifth act of the drama
Blows in the wind of autumn,
Each flower-bed in the park seems
A fresh grave, we have finished
The funeral-feast, and there’s nothing
To do. Why then do I linger
As if I am expecting
A miracle? It’s the way a feeble
Hand can hold fast to a heavy
Boat for a long time by the pier
As one is saying goodbye
To the person who’s left standing.
by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova) (1921?)
from Седьмая книга (The Seventh Book)
translation by D. M. Thomas
Fun fact: Though the poem is dated as being written in the 1940s it is more likely it was written just after, her husband Nikolay Stepanovich Gumilyov‘s execution in 1921.
Still he lay without moving, as if, after some difficult
task, he had folded his arms. Head quietly bowed, I stood
still for a long time, looking attentively into the dead man’s
eyes. These eyes were closed. Nevertheless, I could
see on that face I knew so well a look I had never
glimpsed there before. It was not inspiration’s flame,
nor did it seem like the blade of his wit. No, what I could
wrapped round his face, was thought, some deep, high
Vision, some vision, I thought must have come to home. And I
wanted to ask, ‘What is it? What do you see?’
by Василий Андреевич Жуковский (Vasily Andreyevich Zhukovsky)
translated by Robert Chandler
Fun fact: Ivan Bunin, the Nobel Prize winning Russian emigre author, is related to him.