– Osip Mandelstam (1920; translated from the Russian by Christian Wiman)
Take, from my palms, for joy, for ease,
A little honey, a little sun,
That we may obey Persephone’s bees.
You can’t untie a boat unmoored.
Fur-shod shadows can’t be heard,
Nor terror, in this life, mastered.
Love, what’s left for us, and of us, is this
Living remnant, loving revenant, brief kiss
Like a bee flying completed dying hiveless
To find in the forest’s heart a home,
Night’s never-ending hum,
Thriving on meadowsweet, mint, and time.
Take, for all that is good, for all that is gone,
That it may lie rough and real against your collarbone,
This string of bees, that once turned honey into sun.
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