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




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?


Back to First Loves: Nature, Poetry, Reading and Thoreau…

Although he passed away over 100 years before I was born, when I discovered the writings and poetry of Henry David Thoreau, I felt could identify more with him than I could with most people of my time. I could see why Thoreau liked the simple and not so simple ways of nature; why he shunned the so-called ‘civilization’ to live alone in relative ‘discomfort’. I could see the joys to be had in such an existence. The most wonderful thing is, I can still see those joys and experience them!

And these few lines from a poem have remained with me as reminders of those times. It is a much longer poem, and I reproduce only the first part, so you get an idea and the next two (non consecutive) verses that bring back memories of childhood for me.

Sympathy by Henry D. Thoreau

Lately alas I knew a gentle boy,
Whose features all were cast in Virtue’s mould,
As one she had designed for Beauty’s toy,
But after manned him for her own strong-hold…

Eternity may not the chance repeat,
But I must tread my single way alone,
In sad remembrance that we once did meet,
And know that bliss irrevocably gone…

Make haste and celebrate my tragedy;
With fitting strain resound ye woods and fields;
Sorrow is dearer in such case to me
Than all the joys other occasion yields…

Source: The Dial (July 1840)