Some Silver Age translations

It is surprisingly hard to find enjoyable english translations of Russian Silver Age poetry. While it is an important topic (and personally, my favorite) in the Russian culture and particularly in Russian poetry, Silver Age seems to be largely unknown outside.

Anna Achmatova



Magdalena struggled, cried and moaned.
Piter sank into the stone trance…
Only there, where Mother stood alone,
None has dared cast a single glance.


Marina Tsvetaeva


You walk, somewhat like myself,
Hunched, and not looking up.
I used to lower my eyes as well!
Stop here, passerby, stop!

Having gathered your flowers in a
Bouquet, read the stone by the gate,
It will say – I was named Marina,
And I lived to the following date.

It’s a grave, but don’t treat it as such
My spirit won’t rise to haunt you
I, myself, loved laughing too much
Whenever I wasn’t supposed to.

My hair was once curled and twisted
And blood used to rush to my face.
Hey, passerby, I also existed!
Do not rush to abandon this place!

Hey passerby, pluck a wild stem
And after that – pick this berry.
No berries are sweeter than
The ones from a cemetery.

Only don’t stand there, sighing,
And please, do not hang your head.
But rather think of me lightly
And afterwards, likewise, forget.

How the sun shines down upon you!
Its rays set the dust aglow.
And don’t let my voice disturb you
And vex you from down below.


I’ve cut open my veins: irrevocably,
Irreplaceably life is gushing.
Bring forth basins and bowls!
Any bowl will prove too small
Any basin – shallow.

Filling up and overly
Onto the earth, reeds purging.
Inconceivably, irrevocably,
Irreplaceably, verse is surging.

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