From an Old Album (Из старого альбома), Konstantin Fofanov

lingua fennica

fofanov 2

Fofanov was born in 1862, the year after the emancipation of the serfs. His father was of peasant stock, but had prospered from selling firewood. Although Fofanov was born in St Petersburg, his poetry is imbued with the forest of his forebears. The forest was a place of charm and dread, as this poem shows.


Let us be off to piny glade, for it is scorching…
And all is silent, hushed, and not a leaf does stir –
Let’s leave for quiet gloom of branches overarching,
Where forest’s still, and scent of resin fills the air.

I love this forest; with their distant streaking yellow
Are buried deep the tree trunks, and the amber sweat
Of resin weeps, and in the deathly hush the mellow
And fearful glade’s awaiting human footfall’s threat.


A lovely grief descends amidst the slender singing,
When pensively and calmly, like a river bringing,

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