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Osip Mandelshtam

Osip Mandelshtam

"To Cure Wounds Is..."

To cure wounds is so rigid:
They drank the air and poisoned bread.
Young Joseph who was sold to Egypt
Could not be more deathly sad!

The nomads under starry dome,
With eyes, half-closed, and on horse,
Compose sagas, while they roam,
About day they vaguely crossed.

Few things they need for inspiration:
One lost his quiver in the sand;
One changed his horse ... . In peaceful fashion
The daily mist comes to its end;

And if a song is simply gaining
Your heart with non-predicted grace,
All vanish -- only they are reigning:
The stars, the singer, and the space!


Translated by Yevgeny Bonver September, 1994

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