Osip Emilevich Mandelstam

(1891 - 1938 / Warsaw)

Venetian Life - Poem by Osip Emilevich Mandelstam

1

The meaning of somber and barren
Venetian life is clear to me:
Now she looks into a decrepit blue glass
With a cool smile.

2

Refined air. Blue veins of skin.
White snow. Green brocade.
They are all placed on cypress stretchers,
Taken warm and drowsy from a cape.

3

And the candles burn, burn in baskets,
As if a pigeon had flown into the shrine.
At the theater and the solemn council,
A man is dying.

4

Because there is no salvation from love and fear,
Saturn's ring is heavier than platinum,
The block draped with black velvet,
And a beautiful face.

5

Your headdress is heavy, Venezia,
In the cypress mirror frame.
Your air is faceted. In the bedroom,
The blue mountains of decrepit glass dissolve.

6

Only in her hands are the rose and the hourglass --
Green Adriatic, forgive me.
Why are you silent, Venetienne,
How can I escape this solemn death.

7

Black Hesper glimmers in the mirror.
Everything passes, the truth is dark.
A man is born, a pearl dies.
And Susannah has to wait for the elders.


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010



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