"The thick golden stream of honey took so long"

by Osip Mandelstam

Osip Mandelstam

1: The thick golden stream of honey took so long
To pour, our host had time to say:
"Here in the dismal Taurides, where fate has brought us,
We don't get bored at all" -- and she looked over her shoulder.
The services of Bacchus everywhere, as if on earth
Were only guards and dogs. You go along, you notice no one --
Like heavy barrels, the peaceful days roll by:
Far off. Voices in a hut: you cannot understand, nor reply.
After tea, we went out in the huge brown garden,
The dark blinds were lowered like eyelashes.
Past white columns, we went to look at the grapes,
Where the drowsy mountains are glazed with airy glass.
I said: the vines live like an ancient battle
Where curly-headed horsemen fight in twisted order.
The science of Hellas in the stony Tauride -- and here
There are the noble, rusty rows of golden acres.
Silence stands in the room white as a spinning wheel,
From the cellar, smells of paint, vinegar, fresh wine.
Remember, in the Greek house: the woman loved by everyone --
Not Helen -- another -- how long she embroidered?
Golden fleece, where are you, golden fleece?
The sea's heavy waves roared the whole way.
Abandoning the ship, its canvas worn out on the seas,
Odysseus returned, full of space and time.

Last updated January 14, 2019