“Why does the ancient grave in captivation” (“Зачем пленяет старая могила”), Ivan Bunin

From 1922.

Why does the ancient grave in captivation,
hold all those dreams of what may once have been?
Why does the willow bend its frowning green
To cast its shadow as in veneration,
So mournful and so tender and so bright,
As if all things that now are ended might
Already know the joy of resurrection
And in redemption’s bosom, dark perfection
In tangle of celestial blooms’ delight?

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

Зачем пленяет старая могила
Блаженными мечтами о былом?
Зачем зеленым клонится челом
Та ива, что могилу осенила,
Так горестно, так нежно и светло,
Как будто все, что было и прошло,
Уже познало радость воскресенья
И в лоне всепрощения, забвенья
Небесными цветами поросло?

Translation by Rupert Moreton

2 thoughts on ““Why does the ancient grave in captivation” (“Зачем пленяет старая могила”), Ivan Bunin

  1. Oh wow, I like that, especially “its frowning green.” Just perfect. So glad to have found your site here. I spent much of my summer reading in translation–a lot of Tove Jansson, in particular, for a novel I’m working on set partly in Finland during the Winter War. I’m not at all a poet, but I do enjoy reading poetry–I will definitely be stopping by here again. Happy New Year!

    Like

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