April 24, 2011

Poets for April 24, 2011 - Marina Tsvetaeva

The second poet for today is Marina Tsvetaeva, who like Anna Akhmatova, lost a lot to the Soviet-era purges and tribulations between the two great wars of the 20th century: a daughter died in the Moscow famine of 1919 that followed the 1917 Russian revolution; As an anti-Bolshevik supporter of Imperialism, Tsvetaeva was exiled in 1922, living with her family in increasing poverty in Paris, Berlin and Prague before returning to Moscow in 1939. Things only got worse after that, with her husband being executed and a daughter sent off to a labor camp. Officially ostracized and unable to publish, she was evacuated to the small provincial town of Elabuga with her son. she hanged herself ten days later on August 31, 1941.

Marina Tsvetaeva (8 October [O.S. 26 September] 1892, Moscow, Russia - Died: 31 August 1941, Yelabuga, USSR)

What shall I do, singer and first-born, in a
world where the deepest black is grey,
and inspiration is kept in a thermos?
with all this immensity
in a measured world?
- Marina Tsvetaeva (The Poet)
I know the truth! All other truths - out of my sight!
There is no cause for us to hold these fights and battles!
Just take a look: there’s evening, look: there’s night.
Why do we fight - o poets, lovers, and commanders?
- Marina Tsvetaeva (I know the truth

Without choice. Without anger.
One long moan. Stubbornly.
A cry that reaches up to heaven,
– Mother! 

- Marina Tsvetaeva (from "Swans' Encampment")
Onto a few of her poems.... first up, these four short poems:
Two suns grow cold – spare me God please!
One – up in the sky, the other – in my breast.

Just as these suns – can I forgive myself?
Just as these suns had made me crazed!

And so they both chill – their rays cause pain.
The one that cools first had been the warmest.

                                                           October 5, 1915

Fate arrives not with a roar or thunder
But just so: snow falls,
Street lamps glow.  A man walks
Up to the door.

The long spark the doorbell expels.
He ascends and raises his eyes,
In the house absolute silence
And the figures on fire.

                                                         November 16, 1916

A kiss on the forehead – erases worry.
I kiss your forehead.

A kiss on the eyes – removes insomnia.
I kiss you on the eyes.

A kiss on the lips – is water to drink.
I kiss your lips.

A kiss on the forehead – erases memory.
I kiss your forehead.

                                                        June 5, 1917

One half of my window dissolved.
One half of my soul materialized.
Come, let us open the other half.
That other half of the window!

                                                        May 1920
Two poems from a site, which has a pretty extensive compilation of her poems:

Lady with Camelias
by Marina Tsvetaeva

Your whole way with shining evil's coal
Margaret, they all do bravely judge.
What's your fault? The body sinned as such,
Innocent you have retained your soul.

To all people it's the same, I know,
To all nodded with a blurry smile.
And with this sorrowful semi-smile
You have wept yourself long time ago.

Who will know? Whose hand will help along?
No exception to the rule, one thing entrances!
They eternally await embraces,
They eternally await, "I'm thirsty! Be my own!"

Day and night the bane of false confessions..
Day and night, tomorrow, and once more!
Spoke more eloquently than the word
Your dark glance, the martyr's dark expression.

The accursed ring is growing narrow,
On the goddess of the world avenges fate..
Smiling childishly, into your face
A young tender boy glances with sorrow.

The entire world is saved by love!
In but her salvation and defense is.
All's in love. O Margaret, sleep in peace.
All's in love. I'm saved because I love.

New Moon
by Marina Tsvetaeva

Over meadow stands new moon,
Over boundary of dew.
Come, we'll make a friend of you,
Dear, distant, alien.

In the day I hide, am quiet.
Moon above - I have no might!
I rush on this lunar night
To the shoulder of beloved.

I'll never ask me, "Who's he?"
All to know, your lips will say!
Hugs are rude but in the day,
In the day the fit is funny.

In the day, torn by a demon proud,
With a smile on lips I lie.
Night, though.. Darling, far away..
Crescent stands above the wood!

And two last poems:
I’ve never revenged myself and I never will --
There’s but one that I haven’t forgiven still
Since I opened my eyes - till the casket’s closed
I won’t pardon and compromise - God knows
I will never excuse him till my eyelids are shut
-- Could the man be worthy of all of that?
-- I fight with no one in vain, not a single soul.
There’s but one that I haven’t forgiven: for all.

                                      January 26, 1935
Upon my deathbed, I won’t say: I was.
No one’s to blame and I can feel no sadness.
There are much greater cares in life than those
Of feats of love and passion’s madness.

But you - the youth, whose wing would beat
Against this chest, - the cause of inspiration -
I do demand this, and command you: - be!
And I’ll remain obedient and patient.

                                       June 30, 1918                                      
I'll leave you with two websites where someone has compiled a decent index to some of her poems.

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