• Язык:
    Английский (English)



How strange — a decade ago precisely I
Was there, looking at Ezbekiah.
The great Cairo garden, as a full moon
Solemnly blessed the gathering night.

I was worn down because of a woman,
And neither the salty fresh wind from the sea,
Nor the commotion of the exotic bazaar
Were able to bring me consolation.
I implored God then and there for death
And was ready myself to help it come.

But this garden was reminiscent of
The sacred grove of the young world:
There, slender palms extended branches
Like girls to whom God had come down;
On the hills, like prophetic druids,
There were stands of statuesque sycamores;

And in the dusk was a white waterfall,
Where surely a unicorn rose up to prance;
Nocturnal moths were fluttering
Among the flowers that rose up high
To the stars,—and the stars were so low
That they looked like ripening barberries.

And, I recall how I exclaimed: “Higher than grief
Deeper than death — life! Lord, I take
Willingly upon myself this vow: whatever
Chances my way of sorrow or shame
I will not permit my mind to consider
Thoughts of an easy death until
Once again I come upon such a moonlit night
Under the palms and sycamores of Ezbekiah.”

How strange — a decade ago precisely,
And I cannot stop thinking about the palms
And the sycamores, or the waterfall,
And its white spray like a unicorn.
And suddenly as I look back, I hear
In the rustling wind, in the murmur of distant speech,
And in the terrifying silence of the night
That mysterious word37 — Ezbekiah.

Yes, only ten years, the somber stranger still,
But I must journey there again to see
The sea and the clouds and the foreign faces,
All that which no longer entices me,
And again come to the garden to renew the vow
Or to declare that I have accomplished it
And now I am free...
* See my discussion of the earlier poem, The Suicide” in the endnotes. The Ezbekiah Gardens or Ezbekiah Park was a famous sight in Cairo during the 19th century. Most of the park is now part of the Ezbekiah quarter, a major commercial district developed around Cairo’s central railway station.
** For a full commentary on the significance of “the word” and its meanings, see my endnote discussion of “The Word” by Gumilev which is the next poem in this selection.

Другие переводы:

  • Английский
    Грэхем Харрисон
  • Ольга Слободкина
  • Немецкий
    Ирмгард Вилле

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