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Sunday
Sep072008

Tsvetaeva, "Германии"

A work ("To Germany") by this poet written in Moscow about a decade and a half into the last century, including a reference to a beautiful city in which I once studied.  You can read the original here.

From all the world thou hidest as prey,
Thine enemies are legions long.
How can I then thy love betray?
How can I then chant treason's song?

What wisdom would I drink  in wine:
"An eye for an eye, blood for blood"?
O Germany, o madness mine!
O Germany, my only love!

Нow can I then so turn my back
On my surrounded Vaterland,
Where still through Königsberg fall tracks
Of narrow-faced and quiet Kant?

And cherishing a Faustian psalm,
On long-forgotten village routes,
Geheimrat Goethe, with cane in palm
Makes rugged use of gilded boots.

How can I then forsake thee now,
Germanic star, my sky of rhyme?
How then to halve my love's bold prow,
I have not learned – and at the time,

In ecstasy from thy sweet voice,
The captain's spurs I do not hear,
When good Saint George made me his choice
And Freiburg's Schwabentor appear?

Am I engulfed by utter rage
When Kaiser whiskers steal the sun?
When I have pledged at every age
My love to thee, my only one?

No wiser or more magical
A  fragrant land is there than thine,
As Lorelei her flaxen curls
Reflects in the eternal Rhine.

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