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“I trusted, I thought …” by Nikolai Gumilev (1886 – 1921)
Translated by Joan Kovalevskaya
I trusted, I thought and the light for me shone at last.
For ever Creator let fate have my soul, forever.
I am sold and alone! My god went away so fast.
My buyer is looking at me—he is mocking and clever.
My Yesterday rushes at me like a big flying hill
And like an abyss before me my Tomorrow goes.
I am on my way … But some day by abyss’ cruel will
The hill disappears … My road is useless, I know.
And if by my will and desire I conquer the men,
And if in the night’s flying down to me inspiration,
If I am a poet, sorcerer—now and then
The Lord of the Universe—harder will be my damnation.
And I had a dream that my heart, free of pain, didn’t cry,
In yellow China on motley pagoda it’s ringing.
My heart is a porcelain bell—in enamel dense sky
Exiting the flocks of the cranes it is affably singing.
And tender meek girl in the dress of the red fine silks
Embroidered with flowers, wasps, dragons of old times,
Without a thought and a dream, cross-legged, quietly sits,
Intently, attentively listening to slight soothing chimes.