SONGS OF RUSSIA
A forest is cut down with ruthless axe,
A forest young and green doth prostrate lie;
While ancient pines, with thoughts inscrutable,
Gaze, stern and sad, into the silent sky.
A forest is cut down; is it because
Its early rustle glad bade Nature wake,
Or that in youth it boldly sang aloud
Of joy, the sun, spring's dawn about to break ?
A forest is cut down; earth hides the seeds,
And when the new green wall of struggling trees
Springs up, awakened by life's force, their boughs
O'er brothers' graves will murmur in the breeze.
The Frost has not yet lifted his eyes from off the fields,
The forests still stand meek and mute—all leafless are their bowers;
And yet methinks I feel the earth already thrill and throb
Unsteadily and softly with the springing of the flowers.
The traces of chill, gloomy tears have not yet dried away,
The song of grief and suffering has not died upon the air,
Yet in my heart there swells again, sweet as the breath of spring,
The music of a joyous hope, a dream most glad and fair.
No, no! I pray not for eternal sleep,
Nor sadly call on death its peace to give;
One wish alone, with flame unquenchable,
Burns in my soul—it is the wish to live.
The wintry blizzard, with its icy hands,
Thus to break down a living tree doth strive;
But, though it bends to earth with frozen boughs,
It fights and struggles on, that it may live.
Come, bright blue holiday of spring,
With all thy hopes and fears,
And let my peace be broken,
And let my heart know tears!
Come! Spare not this weak spirit!
Wake all that sleeps to-day
In silence, and thy blossoms give
To strew along my way!
Come! though thy nights will vanish,
The nightingales grow dumb,
And though the autumn threatens
In gloom beyond thee—come!
Armenian Poems translated by Alice Stone Blackwell
Blackwell, Alice Stone. Songs of Russia rendered into English verse
by Alice Stone Blackwell. Chicago, IL: printed under the Supervision
of Charles H. Kerr & Company (Co-operative)