“As I die” (“Умирая”), Marina Tsvetaeva

Marina Tsvetajeva

Tsvetaeva wrote this in June 1918, when death was a very real prospect. She was in Moscow, enduring the famine with her daughters; her husband, Sergei Efron, was fighting with the Whites.

As I die “I was” won’t be my plea.
Pity I’ll not waste, nor blame apportion.
More important things there are, you see,
Than love’s deeds and passion’s wild distortion.

You – whose beating wing is deep in me,
Guilty culprit of my inspiration –
Hear then my instruction to you: be!
My departure’s no capitulation.


Умирая, не скажу: была.
И не жаль, и не ищу виновных.
Есть на свете поважней дела
Страстных бурь и подвигов любовных.

Ты – крылом стучавший в эту грудь,
Молодой виновник вдохновенья –
Я тебе повелеваю: – будь!
Я – не выйду из повиновенья.

Translation by Rupert Moreton

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