I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. FERNANDO PESSOA

Thursday, 12 June 2014

I Know The Truth (12)

I know the truth — forget all other truths!
No need for anyone on earth to struggle.
Look — it is evening, look, it is nearly night:
what will you say, poets, lovers, generals?

The wind is level now, the earth is wet with dew,
the storm of stars in the sky will turn to quiet.
And soon all of us will sleep beneath the earth, we
who never let each other sleep above it.

MARINA TSVETAEVA

Translated by ELAINE FEINSTEIN

7 comments:

Bonnie said...

I've really enjoyed this series of poems, Robert. We all read through the lens of our own time, place, perspective and I have noted a recurring theme. "It is evening ... nearly night ... and soon ..."

Briefy I saw this theme as yours ... but of course, it is mine. Perhaps for those of us of a certain age it is a necessary and valuable contemplation - preparing us for the dissolution of the body.

Sharing the writings of those who have passed before is like an awakening bell and a healing, inductive prompt. Thank you.

George said...

I don't know Marina Tsvetaeva's work in general, but I like this poem very much. First, I like the recognition that all us, generals who fight wars no less than poets and lovers, face the same existential crisis — and this, I suspect, is the one truth underpinning the poem. I also find the last three lines both lovely and profound: ". . . the storm of stars in the sky will turn quiet. And soon all of us will sleep beneath the earth, we who never let each other sleep above it."

am said...

"No need for anyone on earth to struggle."

Thank you especially for this one. Our public library has one book of her poetry. Not clear as to the translator. I've put it on hold.

I found this:

http://youtu.be/0dwWM_IMryg

And her words translated by David McDuff:

"Poet, once you're given a voice, / From you all else is taken.''

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks Bonnie, George and Am.

Tsvetaeva had a life full of tragedy. Her daughter died of starvation in a a Russian orphanage. Later her husband and another daughter were arrested on charges of espionage and her husband was executed. She committed suicide the same year (1941).

She was an amazing poet:

From 'Poems for Blok'

Your name is a—bird in my hand,
a piece of ice on my tongue.
The lips’ quick opening.
Your name—four letters.
A ball caught in flight,
a silver bell in my mouth.

A stone thrown into a silent lake
is—the sound of your name.
The light click of hooves at night
—your name.
Your name at my temple
—sharp click of a cocked gun.

Your name—impossible—
kiss on my eyes,
the chill of closed eyelids.
Your name—a kiss of snow.
Blue gulp of icy spring water.
With your name—sleep deepens.

George said...

The second poem by Tsvetaeva is also magnificent! Thanks for providing it in your comment. It's profoundly sad that a person of such pulsating inner beauty faced so much tragedy, including ultimately her own suicide.

dritanje said...

So glad you included one of Maria Tsvetaeva's poems in this post. She is one of my favourites.
You have been very busy lately, and I will need to come back to read your other posts. But I find it difficult to sit in front of a computer these days, and these evenings, with so much light, and the garden so welcoming - and so much to do there, and so enticing

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, she's an extraordinary poet, Dritranje.

And, quite right — these lovely evenings just before the summer solstice encourage gardening (or lazing in the garden) not computing!