“Yet to die. Unalone still.”

By Osip Mandelstam 1891–1938 Osip Mandelstam

Translated By John High and Matvei Yankelevich Read the translator's notes

Yet to die. Unalone still.
For now your pauper-friend is with you.
Together you delight in the grandeur of the plains,
And the dark, the cold, the storms of snow.

Live quiet and consoled
In gaudy poverty, in powerful destitution. 
Blessed are those days and nights.  
The work of this sweet voice is without sin.   

Misery is he whom, like a shadow,   
A dog’s barking frightens, the wind cuts down.   
Poor is he who, half-alive himself   
Begs his shade for pittance.
January 15-16, 1937

Source: Poetry (April 2009).


This poem originally appeared in the April 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2009
 Osip  Mandelstam


Osip Mandelstam ranks among the most significant Russian poets of the twentieth century. He was born in Warsaw, Poland in or around 1891, but soon afterward his family moved to St. Petersburg, Russia. In St. Petersburg, the Jewish Mandelstams—on the strength, according to some critics, of the father’s fine standing as a leather merchant—managed to live relatively free of the anti-Semitic hostilities which were then pervasive. . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death


Poetic Terms Free Verse

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