I'm given a body – what to do with it?

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I'm given a body – what to do with it?…  (1909) 
by Osip Mandelstam, translated by Dmitri Smirnov

  * * *

I'm given a body – what to do with it?
It is so unique and so much my own.

For the quiet happiness to breathe and live,
Tell me, to whom shall I give my thanks?

I am the gardener and the flower too,
In the world's dungeon I am not alone.

My breath, my warmth lay already down
On the window glass of eternity.

The pattern will be imprinted there
Unrecognizable from recent times.

Let the instant mud be flown away –
The cherished pattern will be not erased.


Copyright.svg PD-icon.svg This work is a translation and has a separate copyright status to the applicable copyright protections of the original content.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1927.

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 80 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.

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