English poetry

Poems in English


Desine, Paulle, meum lacrimis urgere sepulcrum:
nempe tuas lacrimas litora surda bibent.
Propertius, IV.11
Don’t cry for me, for only
The senseless stones will drink your tears,
I’ll never see you cry, for tears are
No more than splinters of a lurid globe
Which only knows its orb and nothing more.

The dead don’t know how to cry, they don’t
Have any hopes to lose, any illusions
To bargain for. They’re lost
Like limpid feathers of a slow bird,
Too slow to make it to the other shore.

Don’t cry for me, for I shall never be
There for you. I’ll never wipe your tears,
My palm is very cold and you would shudder
If I could touch you as I used to do.

They say that we are mixed with dust
From fallen stars, that we have our names
Engraved upon the sun, that we disturb
The consciousness by our sudden springing
From non-existence. Don’t believe it.

I walk within a crowd of other women,
All moving backwards. We can see
The shores of chance, the bleeding death
Of solitary planets. We lose our way
So many times that we don’t understand
If we are still on our track or gone
Forever. Don’t pity me, for I shall never take
The warmth of your emotion, keep it to yourself
Each time when you remember me.

I am a house with shut windows.
I am a child squeezed by its cradle.
I am a name without sound.
I am my mother’s milk that burned my lips.

Don’t cry for me, I beg you. I can hear,
Not you, for you are far away, but subtle motions
Within the stars, that cattle of the space
Which roams through us and plucks the blades of light,
The giant stars, so ripe their stems
Are bending down.

My soul still resonates within my hollow body
Like a dry pea inside a rattle.

I cannot fall asleep, the other women’s crying
Wakes me up. Some don’t believe they’re dead
And call their husbands, call their children,
This is unbearable. I do not cry for you,
I never call our child, because I know that you can’t
Take me from here.

It is so dark, it snows all the time,
If I can speak of time. We try to cling
To each other and to sit together
Upon the frozen earth, but we get only colder,
The flakes of snow do not melt
Upon our lips.

I say your name with my numb lips,
I keep your face enframed by my cracked pupils,
I call you for my own sake with a frozen tongue.
I touch my sunken chest, my heart is there,
It lies like a dead bird inside the cage,
It holds a poppy’s grain in its half-opened beak.

We look into each other’s faces as into
A mirror, they’re like a surface of an evening pond,
Connecting things to their reflections.
You didn’t know the dead are so talkative,
I look into your face when I imagine you,
My letter is a pilgrim passing through the night,
When I begin to think that you may ever hear
My letter, I begin to smile, my mouth opens wide,
My lips are scarlet on the inside, my smile
Is burning in the dull despondent crowd
Like a fresh tulip thrown in the dirt,
It’s seen from far away, the only lucid spot
In the enormous space of ghastly night,
It blazes like the flame of a light-house
Showing escape to other souls.

I wrote this letter never to be sent
By ship, by carriage, with a pigeon.

I wrote this letter never to be read
To tell my husband that he shouldn’t cry.

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Poem PROPERTIUS - Vladislav Nekliaev