from Osip Mandelstam

Today is an ill day
With grasshoppers' choirs gone
And flat rocks morose grey
More somber than tombstone.

Glib twitter of swift darts,
Oracular crows cries.
This daydream's nightmare hurts
Where trivial time flies.

May trumpeted, raw rage
Of mystery in revolt
Explode the earth-edged cage -
Phenomenal, drab world.

Aswing on the strict, straight
Deaf pendulum of souls,
How madly fate knocks against
This our taboo door's seals.

Note: The original poem by Osip Mandelshtam ("Segodnia durnoi den'..."), of which the follwoing is a faithful translation, was written in 1911.--P.N.

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