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Sunday
Feb032008

Khodasevich, "Берлинское"

A work ("Of Berlin") by this Russian poet.  You can read the original here.
 
Should cold or fever clutch your coil,
Cognac or steamy grog, my friend.
Here dishes clatter, washers toil,
Dark music at day’s purple end.

And there behind thick panes of glass,
So large, a polished open sea,
Caught in the hands of dark morass,
A blue aquarium alee. 

And near swim argus-eyed street trams
Between the lindens under waves,
Electric schools of shining shams
Of lazy fish by tram stop caves.

And sliding through the muggy night,
The surface of my table bare
Is captured by the alien light
Behind the thick tram windows’ glare.

This other life in which I peer
Makes me snap back once I behold
The disembodied, nighttime leer
Of my own head in deathly mold. 

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