from “Poems for Blok”

By Marina Tsvetaeva 1892–1941 Marina Tsvetaeva

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

Your name is a—bird in my hand,
a piece of ice on my tongue.
The lips’ quick opening.
Your name—four letters.
A ball caught in flight,
a silver bell in my mouth.

A stone thrown into a silent lake
is—the sound of your name.
The light click of hooves at night
—your name.
Your name at my temple
—sharp click of a cocked gun.

Your name—impossible—
kiss on my eyes,
the chill of closed eyelids.
Your name—a kiss of snow.
Blue gulp of icy spring water.
With your name—sleep deepens.

April 15, 1916

Source: Poetry (March 2012).

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

March 2012
 Marina  Tsvetaeva

Biography

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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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Desire, Romantic Love

POET’S REGION Russia

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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