The Poet in the Eclipse: And I Was Alive

Osip Mandelstam born Warsaw, 1891.  Died USSR, 1938

 

This was his last poem. The poet died in a transit camp the second time he had been arrested in one of Stalin’s purges.

 

And I Was Alive  (May 1937)

 

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And I was alive in the blizzard of the blossoming pear,
Myself I stood in the storm of the bird–cherry tree.

 

 

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It was all leaflife and starshower, unerring, self–shattering
power,
And it was all aimed at me.

 

 

 

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What is this dire delight flowering fleeing always earth?
What is being? What is truth?

 

 

 

 

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Blossoms rupture and rapture the air,
All hover and hammer,
Time intensified and time intolerable, sweetness raveling rot.
It is now. It is not.

 

 

 

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 The sun left crescent dappling shadows on and below the trees throughout the period of its eclipse (80%). 

Winterthur, Delaware, August 21, 2017.

 

 

 

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