The Silver Age of Russian Poetry

Main Page Contents / Symbolists: Belyi / The Golden Fleece and Sunsets by Andrei Belyi / Acmeists / Futurists

Andrei Belyi

Selections from Gold in Azure

To Balmont

Poet, -- you are not understood by people.
Your eyes do not shine lightheartedly.
Your eyes are raised to the heavens:
Turquoise Eternity is with you.

With you, above you she
caresses, kisses soundlessly.
Washed with azure, the spring
monotonously rings in your ear.
She caresses, kisses soundlessly.

Although people, exactly the same, surround you,
you -- are eternal, free powerful.
O, laugh and cry: in the blue,
like a pearl, scattered clouds.

The sunset has burned down to a strip
there the heart does not need fire:
There like a frosted narrow border
is stretched a string of pearls.


Beyond the Sun

The world-gold sunset is ablaze with fire,
Having pierced through with radiant airiness,
above the peaceful cornfield it set fire to crosses
and distant outlines of cupolas.

Airy veils, waving, whispering with a gust of freedom
in the azure expanses
wind around us with cold satin kisses,
flying from east to west.

The hot sun -- a golden ring --
Your contour, piercing the cloud, burned out
The hot sun -- a golden ring --
departed from us into the Unknown.

We shall fly to the horizon: there
eternal day without sunset shines through a red curtain.
Speed to the horizon! There a red curtain
is woven from daydreams and flame.


Eternal Call

The sunset pierced through the tops of the trees
with yellow-crimson light.
And this eternal melody sounded:
"Embrace [me] -- I will begin to kiss you..."

Antiquity at the blazing hour
having seized us with peace,
antiquity, having surrounded us,
flies like an azure-blue waterfall.

And the streaming waterfall of centuries,
forever falling sorrowful wave,
does not wash away, is returned to the past
forever breaking through antiquity.

Antiquity still sings its song,
the world wafts the same rapture over us.
As though a goblet of wine will be spilt
to refresh the eternal ether.

Turning to face antiquity,
I bowed with an entreaty to all.
The branches of the golden, radiant trees
Strain towards me.

And through the whirlpool of endless centuries
something touched me anew, --
that same sorrowful pensive call:
"Embrace [me] -- i will begin to kiss you."


Preaching the fast-approaching end,
I appeared, as if a new Christ,
having been entrusted with the thorny crown,
adorned with flames of rose.

In the sky a golden fire died out.
I laughed at the torch flames.
Having clogged the sidewalk around me
they listened to my words with astonishment.

They laughed at me,
at the insanely-funny false Christ.
A drop of blood like a burning tear
was congealing, trembling on my brow.

The thundering of the cabs, and screams and noise,
the soundless rush of rubber tires...
Suddenly drenched with sticky mud,
the harlequin grew pale and silent.

Flooded with bright gaslight,
I hung my head and began to sob like a child.
They dragged me to the lunatic asylum,
driving me on with kicks.


I am sitting under the window.
Pressing myself against the grating, I pray.
In the azure blue
all is frozen, sparkling.

And rings out from the distance:
"I am so close to you,
my poor earthly children,
at the golden hour turning amber..."

And beneath the dim window
behind the prison bars
I wave my cap to her:
"Soon, soon we will meet..."

From the radiant crosses
threads of gold beguile me...
That same sorrowfully pensive call:
"Embrace [me] -- I will begin to kiss you..."

Full of pangs of happiness,
the fool falls silent.
The crazy cap quietly falls
from his hand to the floor.

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The Silver Age of Russian Poetry
created by Lindsay Malcolm

last modified: August 8th, 1999