"This night is irredeemable"

by Osip Mandelstam

Osip Mandelstam

This night is irredeemable.
Where you are, it is still bright.
At the gates of Jerusalem,
a black sun is alight.
The yellow sun is hurting,
sleep, baby, sleep.
The Jews in the Temple's burning
buried my mother deep.
Without rabbi, without blessing,
over her ashes, there,
the Jews in the Temple's burning
chanted the prayer.
Over this mother,
Israel's voice was sung.
I woke in a glittering cradle,
lit by a black sun.
The following is a different translation of the same poem:
"This night is beyond recall"
This night is beyond recall,
But it is still bright at your place.
At the gates of Jerusalem,
The black sun has risen.
The yellow sun is more fearful --
Baiu, baiushki, baiu...
In a bright temple, the Jews
Have buried my mother.
Not having Grace,
Deprived of priesthood,
The Jews, in a bright temple,
Chanted over the woman's ashes.
And the voices of the Israelites
Rose above the mother.
I awoke in a cradle, shone upon
By a black sun.

Last updated January 14, 2019