"Let us go where there are varied crafts"

by Osip Mandelstam

Osip Mandelstam

Let us go where there are varied crafts
And trades -- shashlik and chebureki,
Where trousers on a sign give us
The idea of a man.
A man's frock coat: headless aspiration,
The barber's flying fiddle, a mesmerizing iron,
The appearance of heavenly washer-women --
The smile of heaviness.
Here, the girls, their bangs aging,
Contemplate the strange attire,
Admirals in stiff three-cornered hats
Bring Scheherezade's dream to mind.
The distance is transparent. A few grapes.
A fresh wind ever blowing.
Not far from Smyrna and Baghdad,
But difficult to sail,
And the stars are everywhere the same.

Last updated January 14, 2019