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Like silent ships we two in darkness met,
   And when some day the poet's careless fame
   Shall breathe to you a half-forgotten name —
Soul of my song, I want you to regret.
For you had Love. Out of my life you tore
   One shining page. I want, if we must part,
   Remembrance pale to quiver in your heart
Like moonlit foam upon a windy shore.
<Ноябрь 1920>

430. HOME{*}

Music of windy woods, an endless song
Rippling in gleaming glades of Long Ago,
You follow me on tiptoe, swift and slow,
Through many a dreary year.... Ah, it was wrong
To wound those gentle trees! I dream and roam
O'er sun-tormented plains, from brook to brook,
And thence by stone grey thundering cities. Home,
My home magnificent is but a word
On a withered page in an old, dusty book.
Oh, wistful birch trees! I remember days
Of beauty: ferns; a green and golden mare;
A toadstool like a giant lady bird;
A fairy path; bells, tinkling bells, and sighs;
Whimsical orioles; white-rimmed butterflies
Fanning their velvet wings on velvet silver stems....
All is dead. Who cares, who understands?
Not even God.... I saw mysterious lands
And sailed to nowhere with blue-winged waves
Whirling around me. I have roved and raved
In southern harbours among drunken knaves,
And passed by narrow streets, scented and paved
With moonlight pale. There have I called and kissed
Veiled women swaying in a rhythmic mist,
But lonesome was my soul, and cold the night....
And if sometimes, when in the fading light
Chance friends would chatter, suddenly I grew
Restless and then quite still, — Ah, it was
Music of you, windy woods!
<Ноябрь 1920>


I dream of simple tender things:
a moonlit road and tinkling bells.
Ah, drearly the coachboy sings,
but sadness into beauty swells;
swells, and is lost in moonlight dim…
the singer sighs, and then the moon
full gently passes back to him
the quivering, unfinished tune.
In distant lands, on hill and plain,
thus do I dream, when nights are long, —
and memory gives back again
the whisper of that long-lost song.


To many things I've said the word that cheats
the lips and leaves them parted (thus: prash-chai
which means «good-bye») — to furnished flats, to streets,
to milk-white letters melting in the sky;
to drab designs that habit seldom sees,
to novels interrupted by the din
of tunnels, annotated by quick trees,
abandoned with a squashed banana skin;
to a dim waiter in a dimmer town,
to cuts that healed and to a thumbless glove;
also to things of lyrical renown
perhaps more universal, such as love.
Thus life has been an endless line of land
receding endlessly.... And so that's that,
you say under your breath, and wave your hand,
and then your handkerchief, and then your hat.
To all these things I've said the fatal word,
using a tongue I had so tuned and tamed
that — like some ancient sonneteer — I heard
its echoes by posterity acclaimed.
But now thou too must go; just here we part,
softest of tongues, my true one, all my own....
And I am left to grope for heart and art
and start anew with clumsy tools of stone.
<21 октября 1941>; Уэлсли, Macc.

433. EXILE{*}

He happens to be a French poet, that thin,
book-carrying man with a bristly gray chin;
        you meet him wherever you go
across the bright campus, past ivy-clad walls.
The wind which is driving him mad (this recalls
        a rather good line in Hugo),
keeps making blue holes in the waterproof gloss
of college-bred poplars that rustle and toss
        their slippery shadows at pied
young beauties, all legs, as they bicycle through
his shoulder, his armpit, his heart, and the two
        big books that are hurting his side.
Verlaine had been also a teacher. Somewhere
in England. And what about great Baudelaire,
        alone in his Belgian hell?
This ivy resembles the eyes of the deaf.
Come, leaf, name a country beginning with «f»;
        for instance, «forget» or «farewell».
Thus dimly he muses and dreamily heeds
his eavesdropping self as his body recedes,
        dissolving in sun-shattered shade.
L'Envoi: Those poor chairs in the Bois, one of which
legs up, stuck half-drowned in the slime of a ditch
        while others were grouped in a glade.
<13 сентября> 1942