Olga Sedakova

(1949 / Moscow)

Chinese Journey 10 - Poem by Olga Sedakova

Great is the artist, knowing no duty
except the duty of the brush at play:
and his brush penetrates the heart of mountains,
penetrates the happiness of leaves,
at one stroke, with sheer gentleness,
with delight, with mere confusion
he penetrates immortality itself -
and immortality toys with him.

But he whom the spirit abandons, from whom
they remove the ray of light,
who for the tenth time in a turbid place
gropes for the pure key,
who, fallen out of the hand of miracles, will not say:
empty are miracles! -
before him, in reverence,
the heavens bow.

Translated by Jena Woodhouse

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Poem Submitted: Friday, June 2, 2017

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