Insomnia. Homer. The rows of stretched sails

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Insomnia. Homer. The rows of stretched sails  (1912) 
by Osip Mandelstam, translated by Dmitri Smirnov
From "Stone". In Russian: Бессонница. Гомер. Тугие паруса…

* * *

Insomnia. Homer. The rows of stretched sails.
I’ve read the catalogue of ships just to the middle:
That endless caravan, that lengthy stream of cranes,
Which long ago rose up above the land oh Hellas.

It’s like a wedge of cranes towards the distant shores –
The foreheads of the kings crowned with the foam of Gods.
Where are you sailing to? If Helen were not there,
What Troy would be to you, oh warriors of Achaea

The sea and Homer – everything is moved by love.
Whom shall I listen to? There is no sound from Homer,
And full of eloquence the black sea roars and roars,
And draws with thunderous crashing nearer to my pillow.

Crimea, August 1915
(Translated 27 October 2006, St Albans)

This is a translation and has a separate copyright status from the original text. The license for the translation applies to this edition only.
This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1938, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 75 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

This work is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

Other translations:

Translation by Ian Probstein