For O. A. Kuzmin-Karavaev
‘If we can only reach the shore,
My dear!’ – ‘Silently…’
And so we slipped down the stair,
Not breathing, searching for keys.
Past the place where we once
Danced, and drank the wine,
Past the Senate’s white columns,
To where it was dark as a mine.
‘What are you doing, you’re crazy!’ –
‘No, just in love with you!
This breeze – wide and windy,
Will delight a boat or two!’
Throat constrained with horror,
The skiff carried us in darkness…
A sea-cable’s strong odour
Scorched my quivering nostrils.
‘Tell me, you surely must know:
Am I sleeping? So like a dream…’
Only the oars measured blows,
On the Neva’s heavy stream.
But the black sky lightened,
Someone called from a bridge,
With both hands I grasped
The cross’s chain at my breast.
Powerless, I was lifted, like
A young girl, in your arms,
Onto the white yacht’s deck,
To meet day’s incorruptible charms. 60
‘I rarely think of you now’
Irarely think of you now,
Not captured by your fate,
But our insignificant meeting’s trace
Has not vanished from my soul.
I purposely avoid your red house,
That red house on its muddy river,
But I know I bitterly disturb
Your sunlit heart at rest.
Though you never bent to my lips,
Never immortalised my longing
In verse of gold –
Isecretly conjure the future,
When evening shines clear and blue,
And foresee the inevitable meeting,
A second meeting, with you.