from “Poems for Moscow”

By Marina Tsvetaeva 1892–1941 Marina Tsvetaeva

New versions from the Russian by Ilya Kaminsky and Jean Valentine Read the translator's notes

From my hands—take this city not made by hands,
my strange, my beautiful brother.

Take it, church by church—all forty times forty churches,
and flying up the roofs, the small pigeons;

And Spassky Gates—and gates, and gates—
where the Orthodox take off their hats;

And the Chapel of Stars—refuge chapel—
where the floor is—polished by tears;

Take the circle of the five cathedrals,
my coal, my soul; the domes wash us in their darkgold,

And on your shoulders, from the red clouds,
the Mother of God will drop her own thin coat,

And you will rise, happened of wonderpowers
—never ashamed you loved me.

March 31, 1916

Source: Poetry (March 2012).


This poem originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

March 2012
 Marina  Tsvetaeva


Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva (also Marina Cvetaeva and Marina Tsvetayeva) was born in Moscow. Her father was a professor and founder of the Museum of Fine Arts, and her mother, who died of tuberculosis when Marina was 14, was a concert pianist. At the age of 18 Tsvetaeva published her first collection of poems, Evening Album. During her lifetime she wrote poems, verse plays, and prose pieces; she is considered one of the most . . .

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SUBJECT Religion, The Spiritual


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