Joseph Brodsky
Pilgrims

“For then my thoughts–from far where I abide–
Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee…”
W. Shakespeare

Past temples, arenas,
Past taverns and churches,
Past markets and regal
Graveyards, emerging,
Past peace and past woe,
Past Mecca and Rome,
Scorched in blue glow,
The pilgrims, they roam.
Their hunger is constant,
They’re crippled, half-nude.
Their eyes — full of sunset.
Hearts — sunrise-imbued.
And lightning is flaring,
And deserts sing, churning,
And stars rise up, glaring,
And birds, call out sternly
That everything’s settled,
The world is all settled,
In snow-covered splendor,
And doubtfully gentle,
The world is eternal,
Deceitful and senseless,
Perhaps, men can learn it,
But it will stay endless.
So faith is in vain —
In oneself self and in god,
…And all that remains
Is to keep moving on.
And the earth shall be greeted
By the sun's faithful rays.
Fallen soldiers will feed it.
Poets — offer it praise. 

Translated by Andrey Kneller


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