* * * * * * *
by Gennady Trifonov, translated from the Russian by J.M. Regan
(see JWR, Vol. 4, no. 4, for Cryllic epigraph from Nikolai Gumilev)
I'd never really thought about it until now,
how the years disappear on us,
dissolving like ripples into the water,
the cringing brain drowning in one vision after another.
I'm 40. I've spent my time
inventing nonsense so surreal
it hasn't even a name,
and makes noises like a cracked bell.
The world around me is voiceless voiceless,
and the departed faces of my lovers
are absorbed into the waist-deep water
the blind earth covered over.
The virgin circle of my love split open
like a mouth to your fingers and tongue.
Now at our wordless table,
in famine's abandoned kitchen,
whose hand shall I eat from? -- for your touch
stopped abruptly, and the circle sealed shut
on blackness even the night must envy.
And I've scarcely strength to invoke
once more this image of your face:
how under your eyes like stones no bright tears
disturbed its perfect marriage of light and shade.
I could hunt you down, make you bleed and hurt.
To wound you would be simple as healing.
And the delights of malice and spite
might, like a poultice, nourish and cure me.
How much I love my circle of one! --
its final quiet and isolation,
its eternal pain and hatred and torture.
Its blind night. And there'll be no other lover.
There'll be nobody, there'll be nothing -- no iron enemy,
nor flight, like a cloud's, on easy wings.