Five Poems from 19th Century Russia



This is a pdf file containing five poems by Fydor Tuytchev, Afanasy Fet and Alexei Tolstoy.


How much stays unseen… A Poem By Ludmilla Shchipakhina


Image by NilookaD; Pickingflowers


How much stays unseen when some eye on us gazes–

A sub-text may run under clear-sounding phrases

And sighs of delight or expressions of sorrow

May differ in meaning from poses they borrow.

We lie on the grass, watch the sunlight which spreads,

But what are the thoughts that go round in our heads?

We meet. Stroll along in the garden’s deep shade,

But what is our purpose? What plans have we made?

Our time throbs and shakes with the problems of ages,

But man and his soul are a book of sealed pages!

At sight we are simple. No need for much guessing,

But what are our feelings? Extatic? Depressing?

We lunch in cheap restaurants without star rating

But maybe a triumph we are celebrating!

And perhaps it’s not transport that gives us a ride,

But invisible wings, which don’t show from outside.


Translated by Eva Strauss

From: Soviet Literature, 1979; ISSN-0202-1870




More lines from Light of the Hearth


A few more lines from the poetry collection, Light of the Hearth

By Ivan Savelyev | Translated by Walter May.

From your first song until your farewell song

There stretches in between a long stern road.

Here trickling like a ringing springtime stream,

And there like some broad-bosomed river it flows.


And in its waters, deep and pure and clear,

Like sand-bank islands, failures will sink and cease,

And out will blaze above the shining space

The lighthouse beams of mighty victories.


For all your previous disappointed hopes,

For all your losses, and for all distress,

They will light up for you your entire road–

Remember, and observe, and go ahead!


And may be here’s the wonder of constancy,

The marvel of loyalty which does not die out,–

That to your dream you’ll go, and not lose heart,

And not for even a moment will you doubt.


And maybe in such action lies our goal,

And even the primary purpose

Of life, let’s say:

To discover in your self an exalted song,

And not to betray it then in any way.

English Translation © Raduga Publications 1987

Light of the Hearth

By ADDesilva
By ADDesilva

A few lines from the poetry collection, Light of the Hearth

By Ivan Savelyev

The poems were translated by Walter May.

At any and every time of the year,

Whatever the dream I live at that hour,

With nature’s voice in harmony here

Is the tuning of my emotional power.


So near to me her tears, her hurts,

So heavy her grief and loss again,

That when they hack a branch from a birch

In my own arms I feel the pain.


*    *    *


No, the heavens are surely never blind,

And the earth can surely not lack sight.

Grasses deaf from birth you will not find.

Rivers without hearing would not be right.


It is we, the sons of heaven and earth,

Finding ourselves not all at once, I fear,

On the millennia’s steep road struggling forth,

Who are slowly learning to see and hear…

To see the world in a grain of sand…

Today I’m sharing with you a few selected lines from
Auguries of Innocence by  William Blake

Here’s the beginning :

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

Its a long poem. You have to pause and wonder about each line and it would be worth it.

Here’s some more lines:

Every Night & every Morn
Some to Misery are Born.
Every Morn & every Night
Some are Born to sweet Delight.
Some ar Born to sweet Delight,
Some are born to Endless Night.

You can read the entire poem, Auguries of Innocence at Don’t forget to check out other Blake poems as well.

Take a break – You’ll feel better

Take a break. Watch the cows. Breathe deeply.

As I am writing this monkeys are jumping from tree to tree, seeking mangoes. Squirrels operate at a lower level and birds provide music. I am not taking a break really, but these days my work and pleasure activities are merging that I hardly know when I am working.

When I was young (I am still young in my mind, just not in years) I used to love this poem:

BY William Henry Davis

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

You can read more of W.H. Davis’s poems and many others at

Say Hi  to the cows for me. Or should that be Moo?


What is happiness?

Noon at Sigiriya
Noon at Sigiriya

What is happiness?
Watching the squirrels
dart back and forth
nibbling on bread crumbs.
Magpies and the seven sisters
hopping around in search of rice.
Baby birds atremble
begging for food.
The hanging vines
dancing in the wind.
Tinkling of the wind chime.

Its hearing the baby-talk
of the neighbour’s toddler.
The whir of the fan.
Sun rays glinting through the
Palm-shaped leaves
outside my window pane.

Happiness is hearing your voice
when its 2am in the morning
where you are.
Happiness is knowing
you care enough to call.

Happiness is sun in my eyes
when I look up at the sky.
Its the white clouds and the blue
floating up on high.

Happiness is knowing
things are under control.
It is knowing the dark days
are over.
That my life is full of light
because of you.

And reading year-old poems
I sent you last Christmas.

Happiness is hearing the phone ring
And only welcome voices at the other end.
No hassle, no business.
No official calls.

Yes life is good.
And I am happy.
I even updated my blog.

Written: 25 December 2006