Petropolis

written by Osip Emilevich Mandelstam

Petropolis

— Osip Emilevich Mandelstam

From a fearful height, a wandering light,
but does a star glitter like this, crying?
Transparent star, wandering light
your brother, Petropolis, is dying.

From a fearful height, earthly dreams are alight,
and a green star is crying.
Oh star, if you are the brother of water and light,
your brother, Petropolis, is dying.

A monstrous ship, from a fearful height,
is rushing on, spreading its wings, flying.
Green star, in beautiful poverty,
your brother, Petropolis, is dying.

Transparent spring has broken, above the black Neva’s hiss
the wax of immortality is liquefying.
Oh if you are star – your city, Petropolis,
your brother, Petropolis, is dying.

About the poet


Osip Emilevich Mandelstam

Osip Mandelstam, also Osip Mandel'shtam, was born in Warsaw and grew up in St.Petersburg. His father was a successful leather-goods dealer and his mother a piano teacher. Mandelstam's parents were Jewish, but not very religious. At home Mandelstam was taught by tutors and governesses. He attended the prestigious Tenishev School (1900-07) and traveled then to Paris (1907-08) and Germany (1908-10), where he studied Old French literature at the University of Heidelberg (1909-10). In 1911-17 he studied philosophy at St. Petersburg University but did not graduate. Mandelstam was member of 'Poets Guild' from 1911 and hand close personal ties with Anna Akhmatova and Nikolai Gumilev. His first poems appeared in 1910 in the journal Apollon. As a poet Mandelstam gained fame with...

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