Treasure Island

Osip Emilevich Mandelstam

(1891 - 1938 / Warsaw)

Every church sings its own soft part


Every church sings its own soft part
In the polyphony of a girl's choir,
And in the stone arches of the Assumption
I make out high, arched brows.

From the ramparts, fortified by archangels,
I surveyed the city from a marvelous height.
Within the walls of the Acropolis, I was consumed
With sorrow for the Russian name, for Russian beauty.

Isn't it just marvelous, we dream
Of an orchard, soaring pigeons in the hot blue sky,
A nun is singing the litany:
Tender Assumption: Florence in Moscow.

The five-domed cathedrals of Moscow,
With their Italian and Russian soul
Bring to mind the Aurora, but with a
Russian name, and in a fur coat.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 07, 2010

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