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Osip Mandelstam – the pattern on the fog of the breath on the glass

October 31, 2014

I have the present of a body – what should I do with it
so unique it is and so much mine?

For the quiet joy of breathing and of being alive,
tell me, whom have I to thank?

I am the gardener and the flower,
in the dungeon of the world I am not alone.

On the glass of eternity has already settled
my breath, my warmth.

On it a pattern prints itself,
unrecognizable of late.

Let the lees of the moment trickle down –
the dear pattern is not to be wiped out.

(from Stone [1913], in Selected Poems [1975], translated by David McDuff)


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