Vox Populi

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Mary Jane White: “For You” by Marina Tsvetaeva

For you, I dissolve a handful of

Burnt hair in the glass.

So you will not eat, not sing,

Not drink, not sleep.


So youth give you no joy,

So sugar have no sweetness,

So you will not carry on in the dark night

With your young wife.


As my gold hair

Is become grey ash,

So your young years

Will become white winter.


So both deaf and blind,

So withered, like moss,

You will leave me,

Like my breath.

From Miles by Marina Tsvetaeva.

Marina Tsvetaeva (1882-1941), admired by Joseph Brodsky:  “Well, if you are talking about the twentieth century, I’ll give you a list of poets.  Akhmatova, Mandelstam, Tsvetaeva (and she is the greatest one, in my view.  The greatest poet in the twentieth century was a woman.” Translations by Mary Jane White appear in Starry Sky to Starry Sky (Holy Cow! Press 1988); New Year’s, an elegy for Rilke (Adastra Press 2007); Poets Translate Poets, (Syracuse 2013). After Russia: Poems of an Emigrant: After Russia, Poem of the Hill, Poem of the End and New Year’s (bilingual text, Adelaide Books (NYC/Lisbon, 2021).

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This entry was posted on February 18, 2022 by in Opinion Leaders, Poetry and tagged , , , .

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