Speaking In Tongues
Scribbling In Voices

Konstantin Balmont

 Translated by Alex Sitnitsky


The Renunciation

The stars are beautiful with their perfect match,
The planet promises the captivating pleasures.
For here Man had Time as his eternal pledge.
The light, the air — they dwell in endless measures.
And every day, at the appointed time
A ruby fire covers up the earth, its precious treasure.
The spring of new reflections has not died.
The brook of feelings still alive, refreshing
One who can love like it is his last try.
The flowers bloom, their sepals breath with passion.
The colored petals are desirable. The tints’
Magnificence is far beyond expression.
The ghostly-mirror lake mysteriously glints,
The river’s stream is meaningful, yet silent,
Inspiring a blithe bliss. And anguish only gleams.
And tops of mountains on an abandoned island,
And boundless ocean with its tender foam design —
All is the feast. Your eyes are to define that
The lands’ distinction is incredulous and fine.
The spaciousness of plains is the superior blessing
And the mirage’s fraud seduces the keen mind.
The women’s lips are scarlet and caressing.
The thoughts of chosen men are brilliant and thin.
But since no one perceived life’s plane essence
And at the time of death they are so tired, and since
The meaning of this life tormented me and tempted, —
The shifts of days, the beauty of the scenes
All suns’ and moon’s exquisite luxury — I damn it!

The Scythians

We're blissful throngs of Scythians. You should watch us
When seeking liberty we're running forth and forth,
Off Olvia's castles with those statues of the vultures,
Disguising from the foes, we're riding down the foes.

We have no shrines, no gods, only the sunbeam while
It shines toward the West for us like burning preacher's word.
And to the God of War alone we bunch the brushwood pile
And then embellish top of it with someone's iron sword.

Like locust swarms we fly, like locust swarms we harrow.
And we will fearlessly feed up the greedy souls of ours.
The deadly bile of snake will impregnate the arrow.
The strained bowstring will find the foe's cuirass.
And we will hawk, and din, and draggle the foes with lariats.
For another untapped land entails us and there is no abject remorse.
Our joy is the war, our strength rides in our chariots
And our pride is the restless and light-footed horse.