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)
And I was alive in the blizzard of the blossoming pear,
Myself I stood in the storm of the bird–cherry tree.
It was all leaflife and starshower, unerring, self–shattering
And it was all aimed at me.
What is this dire delight flowering fleeing always earth?
What is being? What is truth?
Blossoms rupture and rapture the air,
All hover and hammer,
Time intensified and time intolerable, sweetness raveling rot.
It is now. It is not.
The sun left crescent dappling shadows on and below the trees throughout the period of its eclipse (80%).
Winterthur, Delaware, August 21, 2017.