“The tip of willow tree was blackened” “Ветла чернела на вершине”, Nikolai Gumilev

lingua fennica


This was written in 1919, the year after Gumilev divorced Anna Akhmatova, so it is probably addressed to Anna Nikolaevna Engelhardt, whom he married that year. His passion sits uneasily with his wanderlust…

The tip of willow tree was blackened,
For rooks protruded from its crown,
In azure sky-dale there they slackened –
The sheepish clouds grazed on its down.
And you, with gaze of resignation,
Announced: “I am in love with you.”
Like sea was grass’s oscillation,
At one o’clock, what could I do?

I kissed this summer-scented letter,
On rosy cheeks, the grass’s shade,
The fragrant feast of light the better
To study how those bronze curls played.
And you to me were as alluring
As distant place by man unknown,
The promised land of fame enduring,
Of wine and song and rapture’s throne.


Ветла чернела на вершине,
Грачи топорщились слегка,
В долине неба синей-синей
Паслись, как овцы…

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