From THE GIRLFRIEND Cycle
How gaily your gray fur coat and my sable one
Sparkled with new fallen snowflakes.
How we combed the Christmas market
For ribbons brighter than all the rest.
How greedily I filled up on those
Rosy, not-too-sweet waffles—all six!
How I picked out, in your honor,
All the lovely chestnut horses.
How the men in rust-colored coats, puffing up
Like sails, peddled their goods.
How the naive womenfolk marveled
At the fashionable Moscow ladies.
At one o’clock, when the crowd dispersed,
How we stepped into the cathedral.
How you fixed your gaze upon
The venerable Mother of God.
How her countenance with its downcast
Eyes looked pious and weary
In the icon case, surrounded
By round Elizabethan angels.
How you abandoned my arm
And cried, "Oh, I want her!"
And painstakingly placed
In the holder a glowing candle...
—Oh, such a worldly hand, with an opal
Ring! Oh, my misfortune! —
How I promised to steal
The icon for you that very night.
How in the convent guesthouse—
The resonance of bells and the sunset—
Blissful as birthday girls, we let loose
Like a regiment of soldiers.
How I vowed to grow prettier for you
With age and spilled some salt,
How three times I threw the king of hearts
You were in such a rage!
How you grabbed my head
And caressed every curl,
How the flower on your little
Enamel broach cooled my lips.
How I brushed my sleepy cheek
Against your slender fingers,
How you teased me I was a boy,
How you liked me that way...
Everyone’s eyes smart under the sun,
One day does not equal the next.
I tell you this in case
I am to betray you.
In case I kiss another’s lips
In a moment of love,
In case I make promises of passion
Deep in the night to someone else—
Live, bids a mother to her child,
Blossom like a flower,
Do not let your eyes
Wander to anyone else...
Do you see the little cypress cross?
—You know it well! —
Just whistle beneath my window
And everything will come back!
February 22, 1915
From THE INSOMNIA Cycle
Dedicated to Tatyana Fyodorovna Scriabin
(verses written during her life)
Insomnia! My friend!
Again your hand
Outstretched with a cup
In the silent
Take a sip!
Not the surface
But go deeper—
I will lead the way...
Woo with your lips!
Coo like a little dove!
Sip, my dear!
My lovely friend!
For small talk.
Part your lips!
Your lips abundant
Bejeweled like the mouth
Of an ornate goblet,
—Don’t fret! —
Of all passions—
The most passionate, of all deaths
The most tender; of my two cupped hands
Be seduced! —drink up!
The world is missing in action.
I’m nowhere and the shores have flooded...
—Drink, my little swallow! The dregs are
You drink the sea,
You drink the dawn.
What lover of wild parties
Can we compare, my child,
With my own?
And if they talk (I’ll show them!)
My little cheeks don’t look so innocent—
I’m partying with Insomnia,
It’s with Insomnia, I’m partying...