Osip Emilevich Mandelstam

(1891 - 1938 / Warsaw)

I Want To Serve You - Poem by Osip Emilevich Mandelstam


I want to serve you
On an equal footing with others;
From jealousy, to tell your fortune
With dry lips. The word does not slake
My parched mouth,
And without you, the dense air
Is empty for me again.


I am not jealous anymore,
But I want you,
Alone I will take myself,
Like a sacrifice, to the hangman.
I will call you
Neither joy, nor love;
Some wild and strange blood
Was switched with mine.


One more moment,
And I will say to you:
It is not joy, but torment
I find in you.
And, like a crime,
I am drawn to you by
Your tender cherry mouth
Bitten in confusion.


Return to me at once:
It is awful without you,
I have never felt
More strongly about you.
And in the midnight drama
In dream or reality,
In alarm or languor,
I will call you.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010

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