Spring exultation, nightingales, the moon
on southern seas – they make my poor head spin
with boredom. More than that. I disappear.
The real me lives elsewhere. Far to the north.
Berlin, poor Russian Paris, filthy Nice –
a dream from which I soon will find release.
Petersburg. Winter, Gumilyov and I
walk by an ice-bound Neva, bright with snow.
The river Lethe. Side by side, we walk
and talk as poets did, so long ago.
by Георгий Владимирович Иванов (Georgii Vladimirovich Ivanov)
translated by Robert Chandler
Fun Fact: Gumilyov of course refers to the poet Nikolay Stepanovich Gumilyov (Николай Степанович Гумилёв) who was executed by the Petrograd Cheka in 1921. Neva to the river Neva which runs through St Petersburg (also known as Petrograd or Leningrad) while Lethe is one of the five rivers running through Hades, the underworld populated by the dead, in Greek mythology.