how does an hour last?
on the road, laden with rain incense in mauve cinder.
on the pier, holding a thread of a cloud shimmering horizon,
where early trains arrive to pilgrim wind,
hand in hand with emerging resonance
of a sparrow finding a shelter in the distant wake
of banyan trees.

sent from the land of warm stars, a chanting smile
with notes shifted to air chimes,
petals carried to dusk of sea-breaths
along the oasis of silence,
along reverie scars on roses
in the shadow of a fractured forest,
in deep north of the soul’s night.

and i pray.

may a swaying melody of sky
bring you the song, the dance, the flight.

to glow for you, dear heart.


(for my soul sister Karishma)


when a child dies
even clouds forget the notes of a requiem and pieces of glass wound the body of earth from the inside. gentle doves bleed the darknesses of sky, to breathe ruins of air exuding ache
when a child dies
stars keep emerging each evening, fields grow timeless lavender. but the wind, it reveals their hidden sighs, filling each moment of being you still hold on to, pretending you are alive
when a child dies
fragments of moon carve unknown calligraphy on midnight trunks, deciphered by gentle shadows and forsaken lights. scriptures of relief you read but can’t feel, only stand near aspens, mute and gone
when a child dies
dusk falls on windowglass only to search for the heart of white flowers confined in a vase, waterless, holding the scent of a meadow forest that became the desert three aeons ago
when a child dies
nothing remains but memory of light


waved to the coast
by a vesper ocean
twice a dusk

the frail weight
of its blossom
shaping the night

faith needs not
to be proved

it is felt gently
in hidden chambers
of the tide


(inspired by my aunt’s poem in Russian)


air, closer to being music
of notes retaining a breath of ancient night
of cloud hands holding piano ocean

beyond rose of the winds
on the summer bridge it’s raining
twenty thousand miles up to twenty thousand stars

cities don’t vanish wild songs
to nothing of the sterile abyss
even when shores inhale the quiet

dear ghost
the sky knows

перевод поэмы Иннокентия Анненского

my translation of a poem by Innokenty Annensky ‘I love’ (from ‘Cypress Casket’).


Я люблю

Я люблю замирание эха
После бешеной тройки в лесу,
За сверканьем задорного смеха
Я истомы люблю полосу.

Зимним утром люблю надо мною
Я лиловый разлив полутьмы,
И, где солнце горело весною,
Только розовый отблеск зимы.

Я люблю на бледнеющей шири
В переливах растаявший цвет…
Я люблю все, чему в этом мире
Ни созвучья, ни отзвука нет.

I love

I love the dying of an echo
After a frantic troika in the wood,
I love horizon of a languor
Behind the sparkling laughter mood.

The lilac spill of sky-tinged darkness
Above me during winter morns,
And where in spring the sun was shining
The winter’s deep magenta glow.

I love a color in the rivers melting
Across the vast of whitened fields…
And everything without an answer,
Without a harmony in earthly spheres.

The Ballad Of A Lost Feather by Munia Khan

some time ago, an amazing poet and my dear friend Munia Khan sent me one of her books, Beyond the Vernal Mind. it’s a beautiful and thoughtful collection of poetry i adore with all my heart. recently, i translated one of poems from the book into Russian. hope i’ve managed to capture even a bit of Munia’s poetic magic in Russian~~~

The Ballad Of A Lost Feather by Munia Khan

From an unknown place it came through
Perhaps from nearby woods
along with the sudden south breeze
to touch the earthly goods

It came not from a flightless bird
but from a bird that soared
as high above as it could be
Its feather was ignored

It was freed from the bird’s body
It was fallen but fresh
Dull olive green with pale red shades
Not as red as man’s flesh

Colours created or altered
Feather remained the same
innocent enough to drift by
With no life it was tame

But it kept on drifting away
feeling a little ill
its colour allured all senses
to be a feather still

It stopped by when the cool breeze slowed
Under an old oak tree
And asked him if he knew the bird
that cared to set it free

The old tree answered- “That Bird’s dead”
Pain struck the feather’s will
And suddenly it just wanted
To be a poet’s quill.


Баллада о потерянном пере (Муния Хан)

Откуда оно появилось, не знаю,
Быть может, из ближних лесов.
На южном ветерке парило,
Касаясь земли красот.

И было оно не от птицы земной,
А от птицы, летящей в небе.
Но, как бы высоко ни парила она,
Она не нашла ответа.

Свободно от тела птицы,
В падении, но не мертво.
Цвета олив, с красноватым оттенком,
Но не ярким, как кровь.

Менялись цвета или были все те же,
Перо оставалось одно –
Невинным, плывущим от поднебесья,
Вне жизни укрощено.

Так оно и парило
С маленькой болью внутри,
И только цвета убеждали все чувства
Пером неизменно быть.

И вот – остановилось
У старого дуба, где ветер затих,
И спросило, знал ли он птицу,
Что может освободить.

А когда дуб ответил, что птица мертва,
Застыло перо в тоске,
И в тот момент пожелало
Быть у поэта в руке.


books by Munia Khan:

why i translate Innokenty Annensky

in the blog, i have posted several translations of this wonderful Russian poet, and as i’ve decided to continue making more, i’ll tell a bit of my story connected with these works, and the reasons behind translating them.

Annensky is my favorite classical poet, without a doubt. yet through the years i discovered that hardly anyone knows about him abroad. moreover, he is not much appreciated even in Russia. when i was about 14, my grandma gave me a huge grey book, an anthology of poetry from the Silver Age (end of 19th- beginning of 20th centuries). about five of Annensky’s poems and a short biography were included there. one of them was Amethysts, and it mesmerised me a lot. it was unlike anything i’d read in poetry before, so different from the writings of more famous Russian poets from the Golden Age, such as Pushkin and Lermontov. then i was acquainted with French symbolism, and realized the ways Annensky was inspired by their world vision, by their impressionistic heartscapes and lush imagery. he is often compared to Charles Baudelaire, but in my opinion he’s much closer to Verlaine’s state of melancholy and musicality. to me, no other poets expressed the world’s subtlest things often unseen to the eye, the slight harmony or disharmony of senses, of feelings and emotions as sincerely as Annensky and Verlaine.
at the University, i even compiled my own handwritten book with poems only by Annensky and Verlaine, taking it wherever i went. they blended with each other in such wonder, it was like listening to a beautiful duet of voices accompanied by a verdant symphony.

when i was lucky to be present at some of literary evenings where Annensky’s poetry was recited by various beautiful souls, i came to appreciate the magic of his verses even more. to read it silently in a book and to recite one of his poems are very different things. the deep euphony of the poem, the universe of its inner realms are revealed only during the recital. if all senses are open, it seems that even the air around is colored with the flow of its fluid melody, the ocean of rhythms and rhymes.
when i visited Tsarskoye Selo for the first time, where Annensky worked as a teacher most of his life, i was amazed at how he managed to echo the atmosphere of this amazing place in some of his writings. not the outer realms, but all the ways the unspoken, semi-ethereal chants of its nature sing to the soul of someone vulnerable, of things often unseen but felt, inevitably and timelessly.

as i learned English, i discovered that a lot of Annensky’s poems are not translated to it. it felt weird to me, but there’s no wonder because, as i said, Annensky is not well-known like other poets from the Silver Age, for example Alexander Blok and Anna Akhmatova. he was very unsure and shy of his poetry (though already renowned as the translator of Greek tragedies and European symbolists), and published only one book of his own poems at the age of 49, titled Quiet Songs. it was published under the pseudonym Nik.T-o (translated as ‘Nobody’), and most of the literary world for some time didn’t even know whose book it was. the second book, Cypress Casket, was to be published under his own name, but he died not a long time before its publishing.

to me, the hardest thing during the translation of Annensky’s poems is to keep the musicality of the poem, not only its rhymes and meanings. i’m not a professional poetic translator and my tries are far from perfect, but certainly i’ll keep on trying. if my translations once convey even half of Annensky’s magic, i’d be happy. and even if one person feels the deep beauty of his poetry through these English translations and decides to discover more about Annensky, my work is done.

image: Tsarskoye Selo in the beginning of September