Osip Emilevich Mandelstam

(1891 - 1938 / Warsaw)

As Psyche-Life goes down to the shades


As Psyche-Life goes down to the shades
In a translucent forest in Persephone's tracks,
A blind swallow falls at her feet
With Stygian tenderness and a green branch.

The shades flock to meet the fugitive,
Welcome their new visitor with laments,
Wring their feeble hands before her
Bewildered and in timid hope.

One holds a mirror, another a phial of perfume --
The soul is a woman, fond of trifles
And the leafless forest is sprinkled with fine rain of
Laments, dry transparent voices.

And in the gentle confusion, not knowing what to begin,
The soul does not recognize the spectral wood,
Breathes on the mirror, and hesitates to give
The copper coin from the misty crossing.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 07, 2010

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