Friday, December 26, 2008


A man has one body,
so solitary.
The soul is sick
of this solid sheath
with ears and eyes
the size of buttons
and skin, a mass of scars,
a skeleton's robe.
Fly through the cornea
to the heavenly spring
to the icy spoke,
to the bird's chariot.
Through its prison bars it hears
the clamor of woods and leas,
the trumpet of the seas.
A soul without a body
is like a body without a shirt.
Not a thought for a deed,
not a line or a concept.
A riddle that has no answer:
Who'll return to dance
where there's no one to dance?
I dream of another soul,
dressed in other garb.
I flits from doubt to hope,
burning without a shadow
like alcohol,
and slips away
leaving a memento:
Some lilac on the table
child, fret not
over poor Eurydice
but drive your copper hoop
through life
while in response to every step
you hear the Earth reply.
Merry is its voice, and dry.


I trust not premonitions
and I fear not omens.
I flee not from slander or poison.
There is no death.
We're all immortal.
All is immortal.
Fear not death at seventeen
nor at seventy.
There's only reality and light.
There's neither dark nor death
in this, our world.
We've reached the beach
and I am one of those who pull the nets in
when immortality arrives in batches.
Live in a house and it won't crumble.
I'll summon a century at will
enter and build my house in it.
That's why your children and your wives
all share my board
the table serving forefather and grandson.
The future is decided now.
And if I raise my hand
the five rays will remain to you.
My bones, like beams
held up each day.
I measured time with a surveyor's staff,
and passed through it as though the mountains.
I chose a century
according to my height.
We pressed on south,
raising dust in the steppes.
Weeds smoldered, a grasshopper played
touching horseshoes and prophesying
threatening me with death
quite like a monk.
I strapped my fate fast to my saddle
I rise up in the stirrups of the future as a boy.
I am content
with my immortality
with my blood coursing
from century to century.
I'd gladly give my life
for a safe corner of warmth
if life's swift needle
did not draw me on
as though I were a thread.

Three verses

The following are 3 verses recited in Andrei Tarkovsky's film "The mirror". These poems are by his father Arseny Tarkovsky, Russia's prominent poet and translator.

We celebrate each moment
of our meetings a revelation
alone in all the world.
You were lighter and bolder
than the wing of a bird
flying down the stairs two at a time
pure giddiness,
leading me through moist lilac
to your domain beyond the looking glass.
When night fell
I was favored.
The alter gates were opened
and in the dark there gleamed
your nudity, and I slowly bowed.
Awakening, "Be blessed", I said
and knew my blessing to be bold
for you still slept.
The lilac on the table stretched forth
to touch your lids with heavenly blue
and your blue-tinted lids
were calm, and your hand was warm.
Locked in crystal, rivers pulsed
mountains smoked,
seas glimmered.
You held a sphere of crystal
in your hand and slept on a throne.
And-- righteous Lord!--
you were mine.
You awakened and transformed.
our mundane, human words.
Then did my throat fill with new power
and give new meaning to "you"
which now meant "sovereign"
All was transformed
even such simple things
as basin, pitcher
when, like a sentinel,
layered, solid water
lay between us.
We were drawn on and on
were cities build by magic
parted before us like mirages.
Mint carpeted our way
birds escorted us
and fish swam upstream
while the sky spread out before us
as Fate followed in our wake
like a madman brandishing a razor.