Few possessions: a chair, a table, a bed, to say my prayers by, and, gathered from the shore, the bone-like, crossed sticks proving that nature acknowledges the Crucifixion. All night I am at a window not too small to be frame to the stars that are no further off than the city lights I have rejected. By day the passers-by who are not pilgrims, stare through the rain’s bars, seeing me as prisoner of the one view, I who have been made free by the tide’s pendulum truth that the heart that is low now will be at the full tomorrow.
by R. S. Thomas from No Truce With The Furies (1995)
by Осип Эмильевич Мандельштам (Osip Emilyevich Mandelshtam.)
His surname is commonly latinised as Mandelstam)
translated by Anatoly Liberman
from the poetry collection камен (Stone)
‘This is a hauntingly beautiful lyric, though all the references are wrong; Oliver Twist does not spend a minute in the office, Paul Dombey never deals with his father’s clerks, no one cracks jokes in his presence, no debtor hangs himself in that novel, and the Thames is not Yellow.’
– Anatoly Liberman
Beneath is the original, Russian Cyrillic, version of the poem.