Osip Mandelstam


I’m in a sunlit spiderweb now—

Black-haired, light brown tones—

People need light and sky blue air,

They need bread and Elbrus’ snow.

I can’t sort this out alone,

And no one has any advice for me—

In neither the Urals nor Crimea are there

Any such clear weeping stones.

People need a poem secretly their own,

So they may awaken from it and bathe

Forever in its flaxen-curled mystery,

The chestnut wave of its breath.

— translated from the Russian by Seth Zimmerman