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
Mist climbs from the lake.
Fields bare after harvest.
Beyond blue hills
the sun rolls to its rest.
Splintered, deep in ruts,
the weary road thinks
it cannot be long now
till grey-haired winter.
In the misty, resonant grove
I watched yesterday
as a bay moon, like a foal,
harnessed herself to our sleigh.
by Сергей Александрович Есенин (Sergei Alexandrovich Yesenin) a.k.a. Sergey Yesenin / Esenin
translated by Robert Chandler
My breast grew cold and numb,
But my feet were light.
On to my right hand I fumbled
The glove to my left hand.
It seemed that there were many steps
-I knew there were only three.
An autumn whisper between the maples
Kept urging: ‘Die with me.
Change has made me weary,
Fate has cheated me of everything.’
I answered: ‘My dear, my dear!
I’ll die with you. I too am suffering.’
It was a song of the last meeting.
Only bedroom-candles burnt
When I looked into the dark house,
And they were yellow and indifferent.
– by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova) (1911, Tsarskoye Selo)
– from Вечер (Evening, 1912), translation by D. M. Thomas