Enjoy You, Your Hot Shower

This is more of a late-winter poem, but it’s been stuck in my head for days now, so I’m sharing it here. “Salt on an axe-blade”? Awesome.

Enjoy your next hot shower.


I was washing outside in the darkness,
the sky burning with rough stars,
and the starlight, salt on an axe-blade.
The cold overflows the barrel.

The gate’s locked,
the land’s grim as its conscience.
I don’t think they’ll find the new weaving,
finer than truth, anywhere.

Star-salt is melting in the barrel,
icy water is turning blacker,
death’s growing purer, misfortune saltier,
the earth’s moving nearer to truth and to dread.

– Osip Mandelstam (translated from the Russian by Brown and Merwin)

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