Poet Nikolay Gumilev the husband of poet Anna Akhmatova, was born in Kronstadt and also later served here for a few years as an officer in the army in Kronstadt. This is one of my favourite poems of his.
I know: to the trees, but not to us, Perfection of the life is given, whole. And on the Earth – the sister of the stars – We live in exile, while they do at home. In latest falls, in sad and empty fields, The red-brass dawns and amber-clad sunrises Teach to the hues, dissolved in thinnest films, These people – green and free forever masses. Moses exists among these oaks, tall, And Mary, too – among the palms for ages … Their souls send to the others quiet calls With waters, run in darkness, void of edges. While polishing and brushing stony gems, And grinding rocks, the springs babble in a chore: They sing a song, or mourn a broken elm, Or praise the leaves, which dressed a sycamore. Oh, if I might be ever blessed to find The place, where, lost of singing and bewailing, I would rise silently up to the heaven height For the millenniums, unending.
Translated by Yevgeny Bonver, May, 2000 Edited by Dmitry Karshtedt, December, 2000