Too late, Vladislav Khodasevich

lingua fennica


Vladislav Felitsianovich Khodasevich (1886-1939) was the protégé of Gorky and friend of Bely. It is said that he was rediscovered when a Red Army officer found a collection of his works in a private library in Bosnia after the war. He is little known, however, outside Russia. Although a contemporary of the poets of the Silver Age, he was determined that his only model was Pushkin. He was much admired by Nabokov. The following, adolescent, poem is certainly redolent of the greatest Russian poet’s fatalism.

Fell to thinking I. And woke up.
Rang out belfry’s toll!
Tapered, smoke-dimmed icons – churchward
Beckons pealing, dole.

Tardy, tardy – church is empty.
Lastly tolls the bell.
Yearnful heart impatient, sorry
Heartful groan so fell.

Much too late. It’s snuffed, the candle.
Here – the only one.
Not remembering church is joy-filled,
Sad, returning, son.

How I want to turn the clock back,

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