Ivan Bunin Poems

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The rain and the wind and the murk
Reign over cold desert of fall,
Here, life's interrupted till spring;
Till the spring, gardens barren and tall.


November. Midnight damp. Chalk-white beneath
The moon the village lies, by the oppressive
Hush overcome. The tide sweeps in, impassive,
Its voice all deep solemnity and breadth.

In An Estuary

A crackling fire. Light, heat in the felucca.
Pikes in the water. Pearl-white sand below.
The trident now! You'll get one if you're lucky.
Go slow, don't rush. A blow! Another blow!

A Farewell

Blasting the malachites beneath the rudder,
The seething sea spews pearly blobs of foam.
The shore sails nearer as we move from under
The ship's smooth, towering shape and make for home.

The Fisherwoman

'Who knocks? I won't get up. I will not open
The spray-soaked door of this old hut. How chill
And how uneasy are the nights of autumn!
And yet its dawns are more uneasy still.'


A whip cracks in the wood, and cattle low
And through the underbrush are heard to
Crash heavily. Leaves rustle. Snowdrops show
Their blue heads here and there. A sudden, furtive

The Pleiades

It's dark. Not caring where I go, which path I follow,
Past sleepy ponds I stroll.
Of autumn freshness, leaves and fruit the fragrance mellow
Drifts over all.

The Stone Idol

Dead grasses parched by heat. The steppeland, seared,
Runs on and merges with the sky's pale reaches.
Here is a horse's sun-bleached skull, and here
An idol with its flat, stone features.


Starved, mangy dogs with mournful, pleading eyes,
Descendants of the ones that in a bygone
Age from the steppeland came, and, stung by flies,
Dragged in the wake of dusty, creaking wagons.

The Dog

Dream on! Your golden eyes turn narrower
And duller as you watch the snowflakes clinging
To window frames, and hear the blizzard singing
Out in the yard where poplars groan, astir.

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