Ode to Saint Petersburg

Snowy landscape with a statue of Peter the Great, the first Russian Emperor, covered by snow.
My photo of St. Isaac Cathedral and The Bronze Horseman (Peter the Great’s Statue), 2017.
The Spire of the Admiralty Building with an angel on top is visible, while the building itself is blocked by the snow-coated trees.
My photo of The Admiralty, 2017
The facade of the Winter Palace, framed by icy branches of trees.
My photo of the Winter Palace, 2017
Roses blooming in the Peterhof Gardens, surrounded by greenery.
My photo of The Peterhof Palace Gardens, 2020
Saint Petersburg - the city of the Dead,
Where dreaming spirits haunt the mist-cloaked streets.
A diadem of rubies crowns your head,
And silver armour lines your mighty fleet.

Let myriads of angels guard your spires
Against the pain and suffering of war:
Rejoice, the bygone northernmost empire,
Built on deception, cruelty, and gore!

The Winter Palace flaunts its azure gown -
A ballerina on the frozen lake,
Whose beauty flares, as if about to drown
Beneath the burden of her last mistake.

May a luxuriant, wild garden grow
Where once was land of misery and snow.

Song of the Raven

The artwork portrays a young woman sitting on the grass with a crow perched on her hand. Both of them look at the crescent shining brightly in the night sky.
Illustration: The Moon Asked The Crow by Christian Schloe
We are spending more time apart than together
Playing silent games…

Are we lovers or ghosts, lighter than feathers,
Leaving nebulous stains?

Let my longing be nectar to your amorous venom,
Which leads me astray -

Our memories echo a murderous raven
Looking for prey.

Tenderness has become a torturous weapon
In your loving hands,

And I swallow my words like the earth swallows Heaven
Each time it rains…

Ceci n’est pas une Rose

This painting features a rose blooming alone on the edge of a cliff surrounded by the sea; it is dawn, and there are beautiful clouds in the sky blending with the horizon.
L’utopie (Utopia) by René Magritte
This surrealistic painting captures a gigantic red rose, occupying an entire room.
Le tombeau des lutteurs (The tomb of the wrestlers) by René Magritte
This surreal image portrays the ocean ic beach at sunset. Instead of the sun, there is a large rose, which seems to float on the waves.
L’invitation au voyage (The Invitation to Travel) by René Magritte
A portrait of a woman gazing longingly at a rose in her long golden hair. There are impressionistic visions of the sea and the mountains in the background.
Le Roman Populaire (The Popular Novel) by René Magritte
If you were a rose,
You would hide in the dark
Until I discovered your delicate spark.

If you were a rose,
Every flower would fade,
Entranced by the perfume which you radiate.

If you were a rose,
Your soft, velvety skin
Would cover my eyes with the raptures unseen.

If you were a rose,
I would kiss your wild thorns,
Crimson with blood, as it lingers and burns.

If you were a rose,
You would bloom all year long,
Drinking my tears when I cry, all alone.

If you were a rose,
You would grow in my heart,
Entwining it gently, as you tear me apart.

My garden has blossomed 
With sorrow and loss.
Why didn't you tell me that you were a rose?

An Acrostic Sonnet to My Readers

This painting portrays a young woman standing by the sea in a light flowing dress. She is bending her head to observe a shiny pearl in her hand.
“The Sea Hath its Pearls” by William Henry Margetson
This impressionistic artwork depicts the back of the woman, with her head resting on her hand. She is looking at the summer scenery and the vast blue sky above her.
“Longing” by Heinrich Vogler
To all of you, entranced by subtle verse,
Here lies a gift concealed between the lines -
As though a scintillating pearl, enclosed
Naively by the effervescent rhymes.
Kindling above the fervent windswept waves,
Your gentle words transcend the leaden clouds!
Ornate, like scarlet flames, the heartfelt praise,
Unvanquished, burns away my puerile doubts.
So I remain a prisoner, alone
Ordained to dwell in the Siberian steppe -
May there be solace - when the warmth is gone,
Upon your eyes, rains softly my regret.
Creating threads of poetry at night,
How blessed I am to have your vibrant light!

My Translation of Marina Tsvetaeva’s Cycle “Girlfriend” – Part 4

Illustration: Devotion: the Two Girlfriends, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1895
***
You were too lazy to get dressed,
Too lazy to rise from the armchair.
- Although Your next day could be blessed
With my pure gaiety and laughter.

You were embarrassed most of all
To walk at night amid the snowfall.
- Although Your hours could be bold
With my excitement - jolly, youthful.

My darling, You have meant no harm,
So irreversibly benign.
- You were all innocence and charm,
I was the youth that passed You by.

October 25, 1914

Click to see the original poem

My Translation of Marina Tsvetaeva’s Cycle “Girlfriend” – Part 3

Illustration: “The Window Seat” by Robert Burns, 1905-1906.
Picture Editing: Pascale Clerie
***
I’ve spent all day beside the window,
The snow was melting everywhere.
My mind was sober, bosom - tender,
Again I live without care.

I don’t know why. It must be languor,
The mere exhaustion of the soul,
I simply couldn’t bear to handle
My pencil - riotous and bold.

And so I stood - the foggy valance -
Concealed both evil and caress,
My finger gently broke the silence
By tapping on the fragile glass.

My spirit’s neither worse, nor better
Than any stranger - whom I’ve met, -
Than puddles of pearlescent glitter,
The mirrored sky above my head,

Than bird in flight, so free and dauntless,
Than racing dog with fluffy ears,
And even the impoverished songstress
No longer can bring me to tears.

The charming art of sweet oblivion
I’ve memorized from the start.
Today a feeling worth a million
Was slowly melting in my heart.


October 24, 1914

Click to see the original poem