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By Arseny Tarkovsky 1907–1989 Arseny Tarkovsky

Translated from the Russian by Philip Metres & Dimitri Psurtsev Read the translator's notes


My poems: fledglings, heirs,
Plaintiffs and executors,
The silent ones, the loud,
The humble and the proud.

As soon as the shovel of time
Threw me onto the potter’s wheel—
Myself without kith or kin—
I grew beneath the hand, a miracle.

Something stretched out my long neck
And hollowed round my soul
And marked on my back
Legends of flowers and leaves.

I stoked the birch in the fire
As Daniel commanded
And blessed my red temper
Until I spoke as a prophet.

I had long been the earth—
Arid, ochre, forlorn since birth—
But you fell on my chest by chance
From beaks of birds, from eyes of grass.

Source: Poetry (June 2011).

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This poem originally appeared in the June 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

June 2011

Biography

Arseny Tarkovsky is one of the leading Russian poets to emerge from the Soviet era, though during most of his life- time he was known for translations of Asian poetries. His son Andrei Tarkovsky’s films gave his verse a second life.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Trees & Flowers, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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