‘Russia Is Baffling To The Mind’ by Fyodor Tyutchev

Russia is baffling to the mind,

not subject to the common measure;

her ways – of a peculiar kind…

One only can have faith in Russia.

 

by Фёдор Иванович Тютчев (Fyodor Ivanovich Tyutchev)

(1869)

translated by Avril Pyman


Fun Fact: Counted amongst the admirers of Tyutchev‘s works were Dostoevsky and Tolstoy along with Nekrasov and Fet then later Osip Mandelstam who, in a passage approved by Shalamov, believed that a Russian poet should not have copy of Tyutchev in his personal library – he should know all of Tyutchev off by heart.

The Cure by R. S. Thomas

But what to do? Doctors in verse

Being scarce now, most poets

Are their own patients, compelled to treat

Themselves first, their complaint being

Peculiar always. Consider, you,

Whose rough hands manipulate

The fine bones of a sick culture,

What areas of that infirm body

Depend solely on a poet’s cure.

 

by R. S. Thomas

from Poetry for Supper (1958)