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Osip Mandelshtam

Osip Mandelshtam

"I Can't Sleep..."

I can’t sleep. Homer, and the taut white sails.
I could the list of ships read only to a half:
The long-long breed, the train of flying cranes
Had lifted once the ancient Greece above.

The wedge of cranes to alien far frontier --
On heads of kings, as foam, crowns shine --
Where do you sail? If Helen were not here,
What Troy then means for you, Achaeia’s people fine?

And Homer and the sea are moved by only love.
Whom must I listen to? Homer is silent yet,
And blackened sea with roar comes above,
Sunk in triumphant noise, head of my sleepless bed.


Translated by Yevgeny Bonver October, 1994
Edited by Dmitry Karshtedt, October, 1997

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