Gumilev, a poet who died too soon at the hands of the Chekha, writes of his love for the woman who suffered too long from their successors’ predations.
I know a woman, silence keeping,
Exhausted bitterly by words,
Her mystery shines in blinking, peeping
Dilated pupils’ darting birds.
Her greedy soul devours only
The copper music of her verse,
She gangling stands, aloof and lonely,
When life confronts, she’s deaf and terse.
Her steps don’t hurry – they are soundless
And gently flowing, strangely coy –
To call her gorgeous would be groundless,
And yet she carries all my joy.
And when I’m tempted to be wilful
Or bold or proud, to her I turn,
To wisdom that’s so sweet and skilful
Her languid craze I gladly learn.
She lights up all my hours of longing
And clasps the lightning in her…
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