A meagre beam in a cold measure

A meagre beam in a cold measure…  (1911) 
by Osip Mandelstam, translated by Dmitri Smirnov

 * * *

A meagre beam in a cold measure
Scatters light in the damp forest.
The sorrow is like a grey bird
That I carry slowly in my heart.

What shall I do with this wounded bird?
The firmament has fallen silent, died;
From the misty steeple
Someone has taken down the bells.

And this height stands here
Orphaned and soundless,
Like an empty white tower,
Where there is mist and quietness.

The morning with fathomless tenderness,
Half real and half a dream –
Unsatisfied oblivion,
The misty chime of thoughts…


Copyright.svg PD-icon.svg This work is a translation and has a separate copyright status to the applicable copyright protections of the original content.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1926.

The author died in 1938, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.


This work is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

Nuvola apps important.svg

The Terms of use of the Wikimedia Foundation require that GFDL-licensed text imported after November 2008 must also be dual-licensed with another compatible license. "Content available only under GFDL is not permissible" (§7.4). This does not apply to non-text media.