from Stone: 122

Translated by Clarence Brown and W. S. Merwin
Let me be in your service
like the others
mumbling predictions,
mouth dry with jealousy.
Parched tongue
thirsting, not even for the word—
for me the dry air is empty
again without you.
 
I’m not jealous any more
but I want you.
I carry myself like a victim
to the hangman.
I will not call you
either joy or love.
All my own blood is gone.
Something strange paces there now.

Another moment
and I will tell you:
it's not joy but torture
you give me.
I'm drawn to you
as to a crime—
to your ragged mouth,
to the soft bitten cherry.

Come back to me,
I'm frightened without you.
Never had you such power
over me as now.
Everything I desire
appears to me.
I'm not jealous any more.
I'm calling you.
 

Osip Mandelstam, "from Stone #122" from Selected Poems.  Translation copyright © 1973 by Clarence Brown and W. S. Merwin.  Reprinted by permission of The Wylie Agency, Inc..
Source: Selected Poems (Atheneum Publishers, 1973)
More Poems by Osip Mandelstam