On the Snowy Stake (На снежном костре), Alexander Blok

aleksandr-blok_1

Blok was one of the foremost Russian Symbolists, and this poem from 1907 bears all the marks of that movement. The Acmeists, among them Gumilev, Akhmatova and Mandelstam, grew in reaction to the Symbolists’ impenetrability.

And a bonfire high was soaring
Over him upon the cross.
Frigid stars are him ignoring,
Inky night disdains his loss.

Spinners of the snowy winters,
Maidens of the night, pass by,
Eyes just open, tight like splinters,
See them twist the smoke’s thread high.

And the height is gently gazing
Lofty eyes are borne by wings.
Spin, O wraith, and spin, flame’s blazing,
Wrap around the cross your strings!

Sweet the knight, his face concealing
See behind snow’s mask it burns!
Sang I not with loving feeling,
Were my kisses not your healing
As one dawn to new dawn turns?

Oh, that you’d become my lover,
Sweet my knight, I’m slender-made,
Sweet my knight, now come, discover
Snow-blood’s love will never fade.

Three nights long my faith persisted,
Wrapped myself around and cried,
Let his gaze go unresisted,
Yes, with feather wings, I lied.

Burn, and see, ravine will glitter,
I with feather hand will trace
Feathered dust with gleeful flitter
On this level, snowy place.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

И взвился костер высокий
Над распятым на кресте.
Равнодушны, снежнооки,
Ходят ночи в высоте.

Молодые ходят ночи,
Сестры — пряхи снежных зим,
И глядят, открывши очи,
Завивают белый дым.

И крылатыми очами
Нежно смотрит высота.
Вейся, легкий, вейся, пламень,
Увивайся вкруг креста!

В снежной маске, рыцарь милый,
В снежной маске ты гори!
Я ль не пела, не любила,
Поцелуев не дарила
От зари и до зари?

Будь и ты моей любовью,
Милый рыцарь, я стройна,
Милый рыцарь, снежной кровью
Я была тебе верна.

Я была верна три ночи,
Завивалась и звала,
Я дала глядеть мне в очи,
Крылья легкие дала…

Так гори, и яр и светел,
Я же — легкою рукой
Размету твой легкий пепел
По равнине снеговой.

Translation by Rupert Moreton

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