Buds will swell just as in the past,
Sprouts of green will spurt and rage,
but your backbone has been smashed,
my grand and pitiful age.
And so, with a meaningless smile,
you glance back, cruel and weak,
like a beast once quick and agile,
at the prints of your own feet.
by Осип Эмильевич Мандельштам (Osip Emilyevich Mandelshtam. His surname is commonly latinised as Mandelstam)
translated by Robert Chandler
Flies, like black thoughts, have not quit me all day…
A. N. Apukhtin (1840 – 93)
I’ve grown weary of sleeplessness, dreams.
Locks of hair hang over my eyes:
I would like, with the poison of rhymes,
to drug thoughts I cannot abide.
I would like to unravel these knots…
Or is the whole thing a mistake?
In late autumn the flies are such pests –
their cold wings so horribly sticky.
Fly-thoughts crawl about, as in dreams,
they cover the paper in black…
Oh, how dead, and how dreadful they seem…
Tear them up, burn them up – quick!
by Иннокентий Фёдорович Анненский (Innokenty Fyodorovich Annensky)
translated by Boris Dralyuk