Dialogue on the Threshold

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Thursday, 30 October 2008

Whither? Whence are they?


Osip Mandel'shtam (1891-1938)


What are we to do with the murderousness of the plains,
With the expansive hunger of their miracle?
Surely that which we deem to be openness in them
Is what we ourselves see, as we fall asleep, what we behold -
And ever sprouts the question: Whither? Whence are they?
And the one who is slowly creeping across them,
Is it not he, about whom we scream out in our sleep,
The Judas of all generations to come?

16 January 1937, Voronezh


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