Afanasy Afanasyevich Fet

(5 December 1820 - 3 December 1892 / Novosyolky)

Never


I wake. Yes, it's a coffin lid.-With effort
I reach my hands out and I call
For help. Yes, I recall the tortures
Of dying.-Yes, this is no dream!-
And without effort, like a spider web
I push aside my casket's rotting wood

And stand. How bright the winter light appears
In the crypt's doorway! Can I doubt it?-
I see the snow. The crypt's without a door.
It's time to head for home. How stunned they'll be!
I know this park, I cannot lose my way.
But oh how different it looks now!

I hurry. Snowdrifts. Frigid boughs
Of dead trees poke deep into the sky,
There are no tracks or sounds. It's still.
The realm of death in an enchanted world.
And here's my home. But what decay!
I'm shocked by this heartbreaking sight.

The village sleeps beneath a snowy blanket,
There is no path in all the boundless steppe.
Yes, there it is: upon a far-off hill
I see the ancient belfry of the church.
A frozen traveler in the whirling snow,
It stands out clear against the cloudless span.

No winter birds or midges dot the snow.
I understand: the earth has long lain chill
And dead. For whom do I conserve
The breath within my chest? To whom did death
Return me? What's my mind
Connected to? And what's its final purpose?

Where shall I go if there is no one to embrace?
And time has lost itself in space?
O, Death, return! And hasten to assume
The fatal burden of this final life.
And you, stiff corpse of earth take flight
And bear my corpse on the eternal path!

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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