Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov

(1814 - 1841 / Russia)

Sail


A lonely sail is flashing white
Amdist the blue mist of the sea!...
What does it seek in foreign lands?
What did it leave behind at home?..

Waves heave, wind whistles,
The mast, it bends and creaks...
Alas, it seeks not happiness
Nor happiness does it escape!

Below, a current azure bright,
Above, a golden ray of sun...
Rebellious, it seeks out a storm
As if in storms it could find peace!

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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  • Bronze Star - 5,680 Points Daniel Brick (12/17/2014 11:09:00 PM)

    There's a Byronic quality to Lermontov's poem. And that doesn't detract from his originality, it just places it in the context of his age when young men were restless because of confining societal and gender roles. Many were seeking some kind of spiritual transcendence. And when these goals were dashed, when their hopes faded, when their desires,
    unfulfilled, weighed heavily, weighed them down, they produced poems like SAIL in which the poet's journey has no destination or purpose as sea voyages did in the Age of Discovery (Those voyagers wanted gold, exotic civilizations, golden women.) What does Lermontov want? I doubt he really knows. He wants to abandon the beautiful sailing weather he details in the second stanza and seek out a storm at sea! He wants to test himself against nature's fury. He wants to break out of his boredom and passivity. What he cannot find within his soul he will seize in a peak experience which may also destroy him. So much of the 19th c. is in this poem! Shelley's ALASTOR,
    Coleridge's THE ANCIENT MARINER, Baudelaire's THE VOYAGE, Poe's A JOURNEY INTO THE MAELSTROM
    all share in Lermontov's bravado and fearless energy. What boldness! What vision! (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 5,680 Points Daniel Brick (12/17/2014 11:08:00 PM)

    There's a Byronic quality to Lermontov's poem. And that doesn't detract from his originality, it just places it in the context of his age when young men were restless because of confining societal and gender roles. Many were seeking some kind of spiritual transcendence. And when these goals were dashed, when their hopes faded, when their desires,
    unfulfilled, weighed heavily, weighed them down, they produced poems like SAIL in which the poet's journey has no destination or purpose as sea voyages did in the Age of Discovery (Those voyagers wanted gold, exotic civilizations, golden women.) What does Lermontov want? I doubt he really knows. He wants to abandon the beautiful sailing weather he details in the second stanza and seek out a storm at sea! He wants to test himself against nature's fury. He wants to break out of his boredom and passivity. What he cannot find within his soul he will seize in a peak experience which may also destroy him. So much of the 19th c. is in this poem! Shelley's ALASTOR,
    Coleridge's THE ANCIENT MARINER, Baudelaire's THE VOYAGE, Poe's A JOURNEY INTO THE MAELSTROM
    all share in Lermontov's bravado and fearless energy. What boldness! What vision! (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 5,680 Points Daniel Brick (12/17/2014 11:08:00 PM)

    There's a Byronic quality to Lermontov's poem. And that doesn't detract from his originality, it just places it in the context of his age when young men were restless because of confining societal and gender roles. Many were seeking some kind of spiritual transcendence. And when these goals were dashed, when their hopes faded, when their desires,
    unfulfilled, weighed heavily, weighed them down, they produced poems like SAIL in which the poet's journey has no destination or purpose as sea voyages did in the Age of Discovery (Those voyagers wanted gold, exotic civilizations, golden women.) What does Lermontov want? I doubt he really knows. He wants to abandon the beautiful sailing weather he details in the second stanza and seek out a storm at sea! He wants to test himself against nature's fury. He wants to break out of his boredom and passivity. What he cannot find within his soul he will seize in a peak experience which may also destroy him. So much of the 19th c. is in this poem! Shelley's ALASTOR,
    Coleridge's THE ANCIENT MARINER, Baudelaire's THE VOYAGE, Poe's A JOURNEY INTO THE MAELSTROM
    all share in Lermontov's bravado and fearless energy. What boldness! What vision! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Sajna Kailas (6/28/2012 5:10:00 AM)

    amazing poem. One of the brilliant poem and poet of the Great USSR.
    Translation is very nice. It helps me For my Russian language study......
    Thanks a lot! ! ! ! ! ! ! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Dan Yaron (6/22/2007 6:15:00 PM)

    This is one of the most famous poems of Lermontov. Despite that this translation isn't rhymed the inner soul and soul of it are firmly emanating! The gallant courge of a lonely sail that flashes up against the unknown powers is remarkable. Moreover, those who have read about Lermontov know that he was a lofty and rebellious and stubborn like his sail. (Report) Reply

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