Speaking In Tongues
Guided by Voices

Sergey Mikhaylov

(03-28.05.2001; Visby)

Another piece of poetic bluffing
(skeptic's thoughts translated by himself)

She lights a candle for Chesterfield lights dark ceremony.
She asks you about things you have used not to talk about.
Then she drops a Turkish coin in the hole in your dervish-like memory,
And leaves you with thoughts which couldn't be spoken aloud.

She escapes time-by-time, step-by-step, trip-by-trip to Moslem Asia.
She hides her eyes under chadors, glasses and points of view.
She guides you in the Black book of nights as probably geisha
Did in Japan, long ago, with another dumb one. And you

Don't know who you are, except you're a language orphan.
Your country doesn't exist anymore, neither does your native land.
So you're going to visit Istanbul and ask Pamouk Orhan,
If your life was only a blah-blah-blah-bluffing that came to its natural end?

At night

Restless thoughts blow through vernal Visby
like a wind come from the autumn past.
Restless heart beats like rain does against the window,
reminding the house of our hostess` voice.
Restless fingers of an old blind man run over the photo
of the young brunette he knew by ear.
Restless spirit descends on the Cathedral's steeple
and begs a pallid angel for bit of love.
Restless waves rock a cradle of shivering island
to bring him peace.

In a mood

I took it easy and forgot the reasons.
Found a casual smile among my travel stuff
And put it on. I'm through.

I walk and whistle, joined to the sparrow
Fluttering over grave stones in the church yard -
Each one resembles a farewell postcard from someone
Who has been forgotten a lifetime ago.
Two lovers lie in young amateurish grass.
We, the sparrow, and me are singing for them.
We are minor fragments of divine comedy.
They play the main part and do not reply to us,
Because of their mouths indulged
In a mutual song of love composed in present tense.
They are in the middle of the stage. The sparrow, alongside,
Plays the future, the one who is looking for love.
I have lost it. I am the past part. But

The play goes on, and the graves are blooming.


Fall asleep, my angel now, fall asleep.
Move a bit aside, feign stillness.
Let your dreams fly down -
Flocks of angels for fallen sister -
Let them take you away from me.

Fall asleep, go high, dream of a little girl
Sitting on a seacoast with her day-dreams along,
Making sandcastles on the edge of the waves -
Waves will destroy the castle and kill the prince.

Fall asleep, sail down your girlish dream,
Find the prince - he is tired of waiting for you, long-time tired.
There, far off is another realm and another castle -
They don't obey the power of grasping waves.
So marry the prince you dreamt of in that hazy childhood -
Tides of time couldn't wash these ties away.

Fall asleep you noble one beloved of the people.
Let your living there be enlightened and plain.
Encircle yourself with fine arts and beauty -
There's no room for grief in this joyful circle.
Even if some day some stranger, some wretched minstrel
Blows a veil of boredom over your open smile
By a clumsy ballad about some gloomy kingdom,
Where some man is kissing some dormant beauty but she can't wake -
Even then, listen to the whole of the ballad and praise the poor one
With gold and applause he has never heard before.
Burst out laughing then, the joyous laughing you have always laughed at me...

But now be quiet, my wingless angel, and fall asleep.


From someone unknown I have inherited the room of three lamps.
They are different; each one is brightly special.
You can see the similar difference between, perhaps, flowers in their sunny bed.
Before dusk makes them alike.
The same are my lamps, with their nimbuses drooping
As do the Saints, patronizing us, sunk into pain and fear of the days.
They attend me in all of my daily deeds.
The first helps me with morning readings.
The second blesses my evening work.
The third, finally, saves me from nightmares,
In which three of them come to me shaped in sad water-colored figures
Of the women that I have loved in different times, in different ways,
But only have hurt them equally.

* * *

What happens with one, who is gone?
Not out of life, not over the horizon even,
Around the corner - through an instant.
I mean, how is it -
Dimming of eyes, have been promising to return
A moment ago,
Instant dissolving of lips, have said 'see you later'.
How is it - to feel oneself in the jaws of predatory time?
Space is the jaws -
They devour our 'later' for ever,
Belching memories.

Voices and faces are fading to whiteness.
The rest are clouds in a windless day -
A light time of stillness and calmness.
No one remembers yesterday's storm.
Except fallen trees.


Echo knows a border, but only one -
The one, which divides sound and silence.
Echo is free to dwell in the both.
Like a bird of passage, that has lost its way,
It flies over the border - from summer to winter -
And dies away.
- - -
The border between sound and silence
Is composed of black crosses of larks -
Lost, they have died on their homeward way.
- - -
Echo itself is a dyke and a trotyl.
For every sound breaches the dyke,
Leaving the speaker drowned in silence.


Silence gives birth to echo too. But as the echo,
Born by sound, differs from sound by rising
Levels of silence, so the echo of silence
Differs from silence, that gave birth to it,
By swelling sound, that afterward
Reaches that value, which makes it be able
To give birth to echo, that afterward
Drowns by itself...............................
Thus, the one, who has answered "forever",
Is overtaken by silence that shouts "never".


Two silences are given to man:
The one surrounds him,
The other fills.
Man becomes the third one,
Listening as his words echo in those two.

Two words are given to man:
Yes and no.
He becomes the third one - a verb of time,
Flowing between the one and the other.

Two times are given to man:
Before him and after.
He is in between and follows the both.

Two lives are given to man.
He is the difference.

* * *

In the distant substations, at night,
Lamps are burning with white-cold light -
Electricity of the domestic breed is bearing.

In the distant substations, at night,
Shadows of no one are utmostly slight.
Electricity groans and smells like bleeding.

In the distant substations, at night,
Eyes of travelers get long-expected sight,
Singeing the eyelids with a clear-cut snapshot.

Darkling meadows are dreaming of morning-dew...
And you feel that someone is waiting for you -
In the distant substations, at night, hundreds miles from home.

The range nearby Visby

The troops are recalled. The war is over,
Without been started. In the capacity of a victim
Landscape lies dug up, licking the wounds
With grass' tongues.
A snail crawls across a path of war,
Slowly and massively, like a tank, whose rumble
Still sounds inside its shell.

AFTERWORDS in memoriam

* * *

Within the Wall:
Medieval nowadays.
No days, centuries rather -
20 centuries of May.
And all happens like in slow motion -
Weightless clouds & heavy island are
Just the abandon set
From old-fashioned Bergman's drama
Where the spectator becomes
A historical character.

* * *

The bus made the forest move.
Hitchhiking pines wave like thousands huge hands
In sandy clock of the spit, pointed to Sunday twilight.
The pines were born with longing for leave this country.
He would long to stay.

Sleepy passenger turns away from the window
And looks on the clock inside:
It displays 20:00. Sharp.
All sharp hurts him now.
From yesterday he likes only vague forms -
So he closes his eyes and remembers.

The landscape of his memories looks unlike:
No pine's hands, no escaping sands, no time, no continuation.
Only the longing for stay…

When his eyes are here again,
20:01 glows from behind the clock's glass.
A thousand years passed while he returns to yesterday.

* * *

Because of absence of the object
Love can be endless.
This is the way I, a city-dweller, love nature.
Non-artificial world of the simplest but the livest things -
Green leaves, sunbeams, water and sky - the twins.
Seldom been among them I try to catch the whole view
In the obscure camera behind my eyes.
It's the exact kind of greediness that blind eyes feel.
There, with every step, I feel myself coming to
The endless night.
Death begins with blinding and starvation always grows
Along with darkness that covers us like the Tree-of-Life's shadow,
Hiding all doubts about the greatest love beginning
Is dieing together.

Big Hopes

for Timo Lappalainen, with smile

Celestial Office "Coincidence & Co"
Spreads its total power with the sickle of newborn Moon.

Night of Unknown Hero is more eloquent than Ode on his fest
And shorter than a dash in the Obituary.

But Sun Stationery yet did not deliver the pen
Which will draw a line below your life.

Cemetery is open.
And Hell of Fame awaits.

* * *

So far from each other,
So far from ourselves
We are.
As far from its shadow
A bird can be.
As far from the left one
The right palm is,
While prayer lasts:
In between there the whole world is -
Compressed, covered, saved.
We ourselves are in, invisible for each other,
Clasped so close,
So far...