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“I was torn out of this narrow life …” by Nikolai Gumilev (1886 – 1921)
Translated by Earl D. Sampson
I was torn out of this narrow life.
This meager, ordinary life,
By your tormenting, wondrous,
Irresistible beauty.
And I died … and I saw a flame.
One that had never been seen before,
Before my dazzled eyes
Shone a blue star.
Transforming my spirit and my body,
A musical strain rose, and fell again;
It was the speaking and the ringing
Of your blood, singing like a lute.
And there was a fragrance, sweeter and more fiery
Than anything found in life,
And even than that lily that grows
In the angels’ lofty garden.
And suddenly, out of the radiant abyss
The earthly sphere arose again;
You suddenly appeared before me,
Trembling like a wounded bird.
You repeated, “I am suffering,”
But what can I do, knowing
At last with such sweet certainty
That you are but a blue star.