Osip Emilevich Mandelstam
Osip Mandelstam, also Osip Mandel'shtam, was born in Warsaw and grew up in St.Petersburg. His father was a successful leather-goods dealer and his mother a piano teacher. Mandelstam's parents were Jewish, but not very religious. At home Mandelstam was taught by tutors and governesses. He attended the prestigious Tenishev School (1900-07) and traveled then to Paris (1907-08) and Germany (1908-10), where he studied Old French literature at the University of Heidelberg (1909-10). In 1911-17 he studied philosophy at St. Petersburg University but did not graduate. Mandelstam was member of 'Poets Guild' from 1911 and hand close personal ties with Anna Akhmatova and Nikolai Gumilev. His first poems... more »
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Osip Emilevich Mandelstam Poems
This is what I most want unpursued, alone to reach beyond the light that I am furthest from.
What shall I do with this body they gave...
What shall I do with this body they gave me, so much my own, so intimate with me? For being alive, for the joy of calm breath,
I don’t remember the word I wished to sa...
I don’t remember the word I wished to say. The blind swallow returns to the hall of shadow, on shorn wings, with the translucent ones to play. The song of night is sung without memory, though.
Brothers, let us glorify freedom’s twili...
Brothers, let us glorify freedom’s twilight – the great, darkening year. Into the seething waters of the night heavy forests of nets disappear.
A flame is in my blood
A flame is in my blood burning dry life, to the bone. I do not sing of stone, now, I sing of wood.
Insomnia. Homer. Taut canvas.
Insomnia. Homer. Taut canvas. Half the catalogue of ships is mine: that flight of cranes, long stretched-out line, that once rose, out of Hellas.
I have studied the Science of departures, in night’s sorrows, when a woman’s hair falls down. The oxen chew, there’s the waiting, pure, in the last hours of vigil in the town,
She has not yet been born: she is music and word, and therefore the untorn, fabric of what is stirred.
My beast, my age, who will try to look you in the eye, and weld the vertebrae of century to century,
From a fearful height, a wandering light, but does a star glitter like this, crying? Transparent star, wandering light your brother, Petropolis, is dying.
This night is irredeemable
This night is irredeemable. Where you are, it is still bright. At the gates of Jerusalem, a black sun is alight.
I want to serve you
1 I want to serve you On an equal footing with others;
I can’t sleep
I can’t sleep. Homer, and the taut white sails. I could the list of ships read only to a half: The long-long breed, the train of flying cranes
When on the squares and in solitary sile...
When on the squares and in solitary silence We slowly go out of our minds, Brutal winter will offer us Cold and clear Rhine wine.
Comments about Osip Emilevich Mandelstam
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This is what I most want
to reach beyond the light
that I am furthest from.
And for you to shine there-
no other happiness-
and learn, from starlight,
what its fire might suggest.
A star burns as a star,
light becomes light,
because our murmuring
strengthens us, and warms the night.
And I want to say to you
my little one, whispering,
I can only lift you towards the light
by means of this babbling.