Sunday Poetry – Mikhail Yurevich Lermontov

Another poem by Lermontov this week. This one is gently elegiac but also sadly ironic as it was written in the year of his death. He was killed in a duel with a fellow officer at the age of 26.

I walk out alone into the darkness.
Through the mist the roadway flints gleam bright;
All is still, God speaks, the desert hearkens,
Star with star holds converse in the night.

Skies above show forth a solemn wonder;
Pale blue radiance laps the sleeping earth…
Why must I be anguished, torn asunder – 
Old regrets? Or expectation’s birth?

No, of life I have no expectation,
No regretful memories to keep,
what I seek is peace, a liberation;
I wish for oblivion, to sleep…

Not that sleep of graveyards, chill and gruesome:
Rather for eternity to keep
Life’s full powers still dormant in my bosom,
Breast still gently heaving as I sleep;

Have by night and day, my ear beguiling,
Voices sing sweet melodies of love,
Shady oak trees ever green and smiling
Bend their boughs and rustle close above.

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