Posts filed under ‘Marina Tsvetaeva’

I’m glad your sickness

Marina Tsvetaeva


I’m glad your sickness is not caused by me.
Mine is not caused by you. I’m glad to know
the heavy earth will never flow away
from us, beneath our feet, and so
we can relax together, and not watch
our words. When our sleeves touch
we shall not drown in waves of rising blush.

I’m glad to see you calmly now embrace
another girl in front of me, without
any wish to cause me pain, as you
don’t burn if I kiss someone else.
I know you never use my tender name,
my tender spirit, day or night. And
no one in the silence of a church
will sing their Hallelujahs over us.

Thank you for loving me like this,
for you feel love, although you do not know it.
Thank you for the nights I’ve spent in quiet.
Thank you for the walks under the moon
you’ve spared me and those sunset meetings unshared.
Thank you. The sun will never bless our heads.
Take my sad thanks for this: you do not cause
my sickness. And I don’t cause yours.

(translated from the Russian by Elaine Feinstein)

Having mentioned Tsvetaeva in my last post, I figured it was time we had a poem of hers on the site.

I love this poem. Not so much for its phrases or language, but for the relationship it so vividly portrays, its attempt to capture the nuances of a connection that lies somewhere between the casualness of friendship and the intensity of romance. I love the way the poem balances regret and relief, disappointment and comfort, the way it manages to bring to life the struggle between the desire for companionship and the desire for solitude. So much of poetry is about relationships that are passionate and overwhelming that it’s refreshing to find a poem that celebrates a quieter, more tentative bond.


June 2, 2007 at 2:41 pm 2 comments