Strelnia Elegy by Joseph Brodsky

Excerpt from  Strelnia Elegy
by Joseph Brodsky

Translated by Margarita Dimova

Light of the palaces and castles, the palaces and castles’               light,
the flowerbed of brick roses, blooming in the winter,
what native scenery of sudden losses,
what a beautiful whistling from years past.

As if you see someone’s footprints, long familiar,
on the snow in the sleeping land,
as if in front you is not the shore you longed for,
but the former land of clamorous love.

As if I will forget myself and everyone else,
and you have already left, even said goodbye,
as if you have left from here forever,
as if you have already died far away from this beach.

You suddenly came into the train
and saw for a moment the sunset and the roofs,
but I still stand waist-deep in the water,
and listen to the distant and beautiful thundering of wheels.

You are here no more. And will be no longer.
The light of oblivion flies back to the golden funeral feast,
in the land of sorrow and pain,
a beautiful radiance on an unknown life.

The street lamps still glow white in the darkness,
the same ship is freezing in the bay.
The new snow is whirling and the goats bleat,
as if this new life will not pass you.

You are here no more, and will be no longer.
It’s time for me to leave this place for the new path.
There is no oblivion. Nor is there pain or sorrow.
You are here no more, thanks be to God.

They bring me a horse and with my foot in the stirrup
I see in front me the same golden Strelnia,
the bay still glowing white in the darkness.
The new snow whirls and the goats are bleating.

In the Tsars’ Village in wintertime
a shadow of vain love appears before me
and life runs again in January’s darkness
like the frozen wave to the beautiful shore.

Joseph Brodsky  (1960)


About Elena Dimov

Elena Dimov holds a Ph.D. in history from the Russian Academy of Sciences. Her specialties include Russian culture and literature. She has also taught Russian Language at UVA. She is currently working on a study of Russian poetry in the late twentieth century and developing the bibliography of current Russian prose and poetry
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One Response to Strelnia Elegy by Joseph Brodsky

  1. listen to the distant and beautiful thundering of wheels

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