Osip Emilevich Mandelstam
Osip Emilevich Mandelstam Poems
What Shall I Do With This Body They Gave Me
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,
tell me, who should I bless?
I am the flower, and the gardener as well,
and am not solitary, in earth’s cell.
My living warmth, exhaled, you can see,
on the clear glass of eternity.
A pattern set down,
until now, unknown.
Sisters - Heaviness and Tenderness- you look the same.
Wasps and bees both suck the heavy rose.
Man dies, and the hot sand cools again.
Carried off on a black stretcher, yesterday’s sun goes.
Oh, honeycombs’ heaviness, nets’ tenderness,
it’s easier to lift a stone than to say your name!
I have one purpose left, a golden purpose,
how, from time’s weight, to free myself again.