‘After Midnight Clean Out Of Your Hands’ by Osip Mandelstam

After midnight, clean out of your hands,

the heart seizes a sliver of silence.

It lives on the quiet, it’s longing to play;

like it or not, there’s nothing quite like it.

 

Like it or not, it can never be grasped;

so why shiver, like a child off the street,

if after midnight the heart holds a feast,

silently savouring a silvery mouse?

 

by Осип Эмильевич Мандельштам (Osip Emilyevich Mandelshtam. His surname is commonly latinised as Mandelstam)

(1931)

translated by Robert Chandler

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I Saw A Mouse Set Cheese Traps by Mike Harding

I saw a mouse set cheese traps

One morning after tea.

A fly read the flypaper

And though it seemed strange to me,

A cat burglar was stealing dogs

And right across the street

A lollipop man was being licked

From his head down to his feet.

by Mike Harding