* * *
The thread of golden honey flowed from the bottle* * *
so heavy and slow that our hostess had time to declare:
Here in melancholy Tauris, where fate has brought us,
we are not at all bored - and glanced back over her shoulder.
On all side the rites of Bacchus, as if the world
held only watchmen and dogs, not a soul to be seen -
the days roll peacefully by like heavy barrels:
Away in the hut are voices, you can't hear or reply.
We drank tea, then went out to the huge brown garden,
dark blinds were down like lashes over the eyes,
we walked past the white columns to look at the vineyard
where the somnolent hills are coated in airy glass.
I said: the vines are alive like ancient battles,
where curly horsemen are fighting in curving order,
in stony Tauris the science of Hellas lives on -
and the noble rusty array of golden acres.
And in the white room quiet stands like a spinning wheel,
smells of vinegar, paint and wine that is fresh from the cellar.
Remember, in that Greek house, the much loved wife -
Not Helen - the other wife - how long she embroidered?
Golden fleece, oh where are you now, you golden fleece?
All the journey long the heavy sea waves were loud,
and leaving his ship, his sails worn out by the seas,
full of space and time, Odysseus came home.
Heaviness, tenderness - sisters - your marks are the same.* * *
The wasps and the honey bees suck at the heavy rose.
Man dies, heat drains from the once warm sand,
and on a black bier they carry off yesterday's sun.
Oh, you tender nets and you heavy honeycombs,
Easier to lift a stone than to speak your name!
Only one care is left to me in the world:
a care that is golden, to shed the burden of time.
I drink the mutinous air like some dark water.
Time is turned up by the plough, and the rose was earth.
Slowly they eddy, the heavy, the tender roses,
roses of heaviness, tenderness, twofold wreath.
Koktebel, March 1920
Take from my palms some sun to bring you joy
and take a little honey - so the bees
of cold Persephone commanded us.
No loosing of the boat that is not moored,
no hearing of the shadow shod in fur,
no overcoming fear in life's dense wood.
And kisses are all that's left us now,
kisses as hairy as the little bees
who perish if they fly out of the hive.
They rustle in transparent depths of night,
their home dense forests on Taigetos' slopes,
their food is honeysuckle, mint and time.
So for your joy receive my savage gift,
a dry and homely necklace of dead bees
who have transmuted honey into sun.