Oslip Mandelstam

Твоим узким плечам под бичами краснеть,

Под бичами краснеть, на морозе гореть.

Твоим детским рукам утюги поднимать,

Утюги поднимать да веревки вязать.

Твоим нежным ногам по стеклу босиком,

По стеклу босиком, да кровавым песком.

Ну, а мне за тебя черной свечкой гореть,

Черной свечкой гореть да молиться не сметь.

Январь 1934, Воронеж



Translated by Joan Aleshire

Your thin shoulders are fated to turn red under whips,

turn red under whips, to burn in frost.

Your childlike hands are fated to lift flatirons,

lift flatirons, yes, to tie to a noose.

Your tender feet are fated to go barefoot over glass,

over glass barefoot, yes, in blood-stained sand.

Well, then, I’m fated to burn like a black candle for you,

to burn like a black candle, yes, that doesn’t dare to pray.

January 1934, Voronezh

about the author


Joan Aleshire

Joan Aleshire

Joan Aleshire’s fifth book of poems, Happily, came out from Four Way Books in 2012. She has studied Russian for many years, and has done translations of Akhmatova and Tsvetayeva, as well as Mandelstam. She has taught in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson since 1983, and lives in Vermont.