Look for Me (Ищи меня), Vladislav Khodasevich

A poem from 1918. Here‘s an explanation of the poem, and another translation. It’s worth pointing out, perhaps, that the Guardian is mistaken in suggesting that the fourth line of each stanza is an Alexandrine: that’s true only of the fourth line of the first stanza and the second line of the fourth.

So, look for me in spring light’s threading fingers.
I am it all: the sweep of subtle wings;
A sound; a sigh; a parquet-ray that lingers,
I’m lighter than it: for to where I was it clings.

But, friend for ever, there’s no separation!
Oh, listen, I am here, and you can touch
Me with your lively handed animation,
The flowing day-flame’s embers you can clutch.

So slow yourself, with languor close those lashes.
And yet again attempt to reach me with your grasp –
And at your trembling finger tips in flashes
Perhaps I’ll burst in flames as with a gasp.


Ищи меня в сквозном весеннем свете.
Я весь – как взмах неощутимых крыл,
Я звук, я вздох, я зайчик на паркете,
Я легче зайчика: он – вот, он есть, я был.

Но, вечный друг, меж нами нет разлуки!
Услышь, я здесь. Касаются меня
Твои живые, трепетные руки,
Простёртые в текучий пламень дня.

Помедли так. Закрой, как бы случайно,
Глаза. Ещё одно усилье для меня –
И на концах дрожащих пальцев, тайно,
Быть может, вспыхну кисточкой огня.

Translation by Rupert Moreton

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