Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sophia Parnok - I'm neither flesh

* * *
I’m neither flesh, nor spirit yet
And daily bread seems hardly needed,
As if my punctured finger bled
Not blood, but sky drops faintly sleeted.

And there are times when pouring wine
Up to the brim feels hardly ample,
When bread all drenched in salty brine
Does not singe lips, tastes eerie gentle.

And stuffy dreams are whispering
That I’ll be tried by my own essence
Dispensing her capricious whims
Like pregnant wives, the loath despots.

Oh, murky, murky, murky way,
Why are you murky, unrelenting?
As if a slightly pulled up drape
Is being promptly drawn descending!

And I must raise myself to God
To crush at night like a dead stone,
And wait, and wait until I’m thawed
And burned by lazy flames through bone.


Translated by Dina Belyayeva


  1. Russian poetry is truly one of a kind and even though Sophia Parnok’s poem is quite old, it still manages to connect with me on a deep level.

    1. Thank you. What truly makes this poem transcend time is the visceral sensation of what it means to be barely alive while having no motivation of keeping on living. It was written in the darkest time of the red terror when hunger and cold were taking down those who were not killed by the revolutionary zealots. It is a dismal account of what it meant to be a survivor.