A meagre beam in a cold measure

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A meagre beam in a cold measure
written by Osip Mandelstam
From Stone. See also Poems. Translated from Russian by Dmitri Smirnov with Gerard McBurney. In Russian: Скудный луч холодной мерою… Link to further information



 * * *

A meagre beam in a cold measure
Scatters light in the damp forest.
The sorrow is like a grey bird
That I carry slowly in my heart.

What shall I do with this wounded bird?
The firmament has fallen silent, died;
From the misty steeple
Someone has taken down the bells.

And this height stands here
Orphaned and soundless,
Like an empty white tower,
Where there is mist and quietness.

The morning with fathomless tenderness,
Half real and half a dream –
Unsatisfied oblivion,
The misty chime of thoughts…

1911



Cc-by.jpgCc-non commercial.jpg © Dmitri Smirnov & Gerard McBurney, translation. Can be reproduced if non-commercial.