A New Translation of Mandelstam

“I’ll throw myself at the cobbles…” (Translation by Yan Kandror)

I’ll throw myself at the cobbles of dark empty alleys
While following branch of the maytree in black fancy coach,
And bonnet of snow, and hum of the mill everlasting…

I only remembered the locks overlapping and auburn.
Still acrid from grief, or of ants slightly fragrant and sour,
They leave dry as amber the lips of the one who has touched them.

In moments like these – even air becomes faintly tawny,
And ringlets of pupils adorned with the fur of the iris…
And all that I know of tender and pink apple parings…

But lo!.. Squeaky sound of runners of rented fiacre,
The bristly cold stars peek through the weave of the rough dirty burlap,
And hoofs beat staccato on cobbles of frozen keyboard.

And now all my light is from stars, from their shine, bristly lying.
As life fleets away like lace-foam of the theatre bonnet.
And nobody utters a word from the darkness of streets of the city…

by Osip Mandelstam (1891-1938)

A note on the translator

A dear friend of mine, Yan is a bibliophile, collector and erudite of the occult. He runs a magical little store in Homer, Alaska called the Observance of Hermits Rare and Used Bookstore. Be sure to check it out if you’re in the area! Or take a look at his eclectic selection of books Here and Here.

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