Translated from the Russian by Alan Shaw
AS IN THE DESCANT OF A GIRLISH CHOIR…
As in the descant of a girlish choir,
With separate voice sings every tender church.
Stone arches under the Dormition’s spire
Bring visions of tall eyebrows in an arch.
Here, where archangels man the battlements,
I gazed on wondrous heights over the city.
In the Acropolis pangs gnawed me once
For Russian names and for a Russian beauty.
Where pigeons reel in burning blue, dream plants
The Garden—is it not marvelous somehow?—
And that a nun sings Orthodoxy’s chants:
Tender Dormition—Florence in Moscow.
Moscow’s five-domed cathedrals, bathed in their
Italian and Russian spirit, seem
Like bright Aurora rising in the air,
But in fur coat and with a Russian name.
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