Jun 222017

The righteous man followed God’s luminous angels
And hurried after them over the hill.
But his wife heard an anxious voice that whispered:
“It isn’t too late, not yet; you can still

Look back at the towers of the town you came from,
At the street where you sang and the room where you spun,
At the empty windows of the house you cared for
And the bed where all your children were born.”

And of course she looked back. She felt a quick pang
And then everything ended. Her eyes closed
And her body dissolved into bitter crystals.
Her small feet stopped and grew into the ground.

No one seems to have mourned this woman;
She was only a minor event in the book.
But my heart holds fast to her memory:
A woman who gave up her life for a look.


The Stray Dog Cabaret: A Book of Russian Poems

(New York Review Books Classics)

Translated by Paul Schmidt.

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