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I and You

Я и Вы

Yes, I come from another country,
To your world I can never belong.
Tinkling guitars cannot please me,
I want a wild desolate song.

I do not read my verses in drawing-rooms
To black-coats and dresses like shrouds.
I read my verses to dragons,
To the waterfalls and to the clouds.

I love like an Arab in the desert
Who flings himself on water and drinks,
Not like a knight in a picture
Who looks at the stars and thinks.

I shall not die in a bedroom
With a priest and a lawyer beside me.
I shall perish in a terrible ravine
With a mass of wild ivy to hide me.

I shall not go to a Protestant heaven,
Open to all in tidy blue skies,
But to a place where thief and publican
And harlot will cry: “Friend, arise!”

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Today I can see that your look is especially sad / And your arms are especially fragile, as if made of chaff. / Listen, my dear: far away, by the shores of Lake Chad, / Roams the exquisite giraffe. / / It was granted the gift of proportion, voluptuous grace, / And its skin is adorned wi...

Sixth Sense

Fine the wine that loves us, / Good bread baked for our sakes / And the women who torment and tease / Yet please us and in the end let us take them. / / But what do we do with the red / Hue of sunset that lets the sky grow cold / With blue in a still, strange serenity? / What to do ...

The Streetcar That Lost Its Way

While walking down a strange street / I suddenly heard the cawing of crows, / Distant thunder, and the tones of a lute - / Here came a streetcar flying past. / / How I managed to leap to its step / Is beyond me - even in the bright / Daylight it spewed behind itself / In the atmosph...

Pre-Memory

So this is all of life! Whirling, singing. / Oceans, metropolises, deserts, / A desultory reflection / Of what is lost forever. / / A flame rages, trumpets trumpet, / And chesnut-colored horses race, / Then the agitating lips / Of happiness, it seems repeat. / / And sorrow and ...

A Baby Elephant

Right now my love for you is a baby elephant / Born in Berlin or in Paris, / And treading with its cushioned feet / Around the zoo director's house. / / Do not offer it French pastries, / Do not offer it cabbage heads, / It can eat only sections of tangerines, / Or lumps of sugar an...

Words

In the old days, when God cast down / His gaze upon the just created earth, / Words stopped the sun, / Words tore down whole towns. / / The terror-striken stars / huddled round the moon / When words, like pink flaming tongues / Floated down through air. / / The lower levels of ...