Monday, June 30, 2008


I have studied the science of separations
From nocturnal laments when hair flows loose.
Oxen chew, waiting lengthens,
This last hour of vigil in the city.
And I honourthe rituals of that cock-crowing night
When, having lifted the journey's burden of grief,
Tear stained eyes gazed into the distance
And the singing of Muses blended with the weeping of women.

Who can know from the word goodbye
What kind of parting is in store for us,
What the cock's clamour promises
When a light burns in the acropolis,
And at the dawn of some sort of new life
When the lazy ox chews in his stall
Why the rooster, herald of a new life,
Flaps his wings on the city walls.

Osip Mandelstam

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