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Mary Jane White: “Dear Friends” by Marina Tsvetaeva:

Dear friends, who’ve passed these nights with us!

Miles, and miles, and miles, and dry bread . . .


Roll of gypsy wagons,

Of rivers running back—

A rolling . . .


Ah, at the gypsy, Eden, early dawn—

Remember the hot neighing of horses, the steppe in silver?

Blue haze on the mountain,

And of the gypsy king—

A song . . .


At black midnight, under cover of ancient branches,

We gave you sons—fine as the night—

Sons—poor as the night . . .

And the nightingale unrolled—

Praise . . .


We couldn’t keep you, friends of that wonderous time,

Not with our poor languors, not with our poor feasts.

Campfires blazed hotly,

And to us, and on our carpets, fell

The stars . . .


                                                                                    29 January 1917

From Miles by Marina Tsvetaeva.

Marina Tsvetaeva (1982-1941), 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).

Marina Tsvetaeva

5 comments on “Mary Jane White: “Dear Friends” by Marina Tsvetaeva:

  1. kim4true
    April 8, 2022

    Makes me want to hit the road with a Gypsy caravan.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Barbara Huntington
    April 8, 2022

    Love this

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sean Sexton
    April 8, 2022


    Liked by 2 people

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This entry was posted on April 8, 2022 by in Opinion Leaders, Poetry and tagged , .

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