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“I loved the great meadows …” by Nikolai Gumilev (1886 – 1921)
Translated by Burton Raffel & Alla Burago
I loved the great meadows
and their honey scent
and clumps of trees, and dry grass
and bull’s horns in the grass.
Every dusty bush along the road
shouted, “I’m playing with you!
Walk around me, watch out,
and you’ll see who I really am!”
Only the fierce autumn wind, roaring,
could stop my games:
my heart would thump, it was heaven itself,
I felt sure I would die
With my friends, never alone,
with soft warm flowers, with cool cold flowers,
and up over those far-off skies
I would guess it all, all at once.
If I love this new game, this war
and its big bangs,
it’s simply that human blood is no more sacred
than the emerald juice from a blade of grass.