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arts / rec.arts.books / Tortoise

o TortoiseIlya Shambat



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Subject: Tortoise
From: (Ilya Shambat)
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 by: Ilya Shambat - Sun, 15 Oct 2023 01:09 UTC


Upon Pieria's great stone cascades
The muses were conducting their first choir
And just like bees, the blind musicians made
Gifts of Ionian honey from their lyres.
From a young woman's convex forehead
Cold air blew in gusts like rays of sun
That the archipelago's tender coffins
Would open for the far-off great-grand-son.


The springtime stomps across the meadows of Hellas,
The rainbow-booted Sappho runs along
Cicadas ring as if with tiny hammers
And interweave like tendrils with sweet song.
The carpenter has built a giant tower,
For wedding day they suffocated hens
And to create the shoes the clumsy cobbler
Has stretched and tattered all the five ox skins.


Unhurried and unkempt is turtoise-lyre
Like something legless barely crawling past
She lies under the sunshine of Epirus,
Her golden stomach warming not-too-fast.
Well, who in such a shape will care for her,
Who'll turn her over while she sleeps at night?
In dreams she is awaiting for Terpander
Sensing at dawn the drying fingers' flight.


Cold dew is feeding oaks with gentle ease
The unkempt grass with erudition speaks her view,
Honeycomb falls to the delight of bees -
Oh, holy isles, exactly where are you,
Where broken bread is never eaten,
Where there is only honey, wine and milk,
Where fiddle's labor does not reach the heaven,
And languorously turns the fortune's wheel.

By Osip Mandelshtam
Translated from Russian by Ilya Shambat

arts / rec.arts.books / Tortoise


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