Friday, September 28, 2012

Aimless Reading: The T's, Part 10 (Marina Tsvetaeva)

Selected Poems
Tsvetaeva, Marina
Selected Poems
Tr. Elaine Feinstein

This came out of the library of Russell Pawlak.

The light in my office is terrible this morning. It's gray and drizzly outside, so I had to make a choice between the harsh artificial light of my desk lamp or the gray morning light, heightened by the artificial flash of the laptop monitor. I chose the latter, which produced this ghostly image in which the author's name and the title of the book disappear behind a spectral haze. I decided to use it anyway.

I remember reading this a couple of winters ago, or part of it anyhow. Looks like I made it to page 14. I feel like a read more than that, so it's possible I just left the bookmark on a random page. We were living in our house on Norwood Avenue, where I started this project. Our bedroom was upstairs in the front of the house. Next to our bed we had converted a closet into a laundry. At the far end of the room an identical closet recessed behind folding doors. We installed a ceiling fan when we moved in.

Over the bed an antique sconce, probably from the thirties or forties, with a little pull chain and a painted glass shade cast upwards a faint light over the grey wall. We rarely used it, preferring instead the little Ikea reading lamps we've been hanging on the wall above our bed for years. Mine finally gave out and had to be replaced when we moved to New Haven. Lori's may go by the time we make our next move. Nothing lasts forever, I guess.

from Selected Poems

There are clouds–about us:
and domes–about us:
over the whole of Moscow
so many hands are needed!
I lift you up like a
sapling, my best burden: for
to me you are           weightless.

In this city of wonder
this peaceful city
 shall be joyful, even
when I am dead. You
shall reign, or grieve
or perhaps receive my crown:
for you are my first born!

When you fast–in Lent

do not blacken your brows
and honour the churches–these
forty times forty–go
aout on foot–stride youthfully
over the whole seven of
these untrammelled hills.

Your turn will come.
You will give Moscow

with tender bitterness
to your daughter also.

As for me–unbroken sleep

and the sound of bells
in the surly dawn of 
the Vangankavo cemetery.

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