Osip Emilevich Mandelstam

(1891 - 1938 / Warsaw)

O This Air, Intoxicated With Sedition - Poem by Osip Emilevich Mandelstam

O this air, intoxicated with sedition,
On the black square of the Kremlin.
The agitators rock the teetering world .
It smells of restless poplars.

The waxen facades of the cathedrals,
The thick forest of bells,
As if a tongueless bandit
Had vanished in the stony rafters.

But in the sealed cathedrals,
Where it is cool and dark,
Like in delicate clay amphoras,
The Russian wine sparkles.

The whole Assumption, wonderfully rotund,
The marvel of the arches of Paradise.
And the Annunciation, in green,
Suddenly seems to start to crow.

The Archangel and Resurrection
Show through like a palm,
Everywhere the secret burning, --
In the wine jugs a hidden flame.


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010



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