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First Line: I've studied all the lore of separation
Last Line: And divination too will perish then.
Alternate Author Name(s): Mandelshtam, Osip Emilievich


I'VE studied all the lore of separation
From grievances bare-headed in the night.
The oxen chew, and lingers expectation,
And in the last hour townsmen know delight;
I keep the rite of nights when cocks were crying,
When, shouldered all a traveller's load of wrongs,
Eyes, red with tears, were in the distance spying,
And women's weeping joined the Muse's songs.


Who knows good-bye when words are being spoken,
What kind of parting waits for us, what is
The promise that the cock's loud cries betoken,
When the fire burns on the Acropolis?
In some new life, when dusky skies are flaming,
When idly chew the oxen in the shade,
Why does the cockerel, new life proclaiming,
Flap on the city's rampart, with wings splayed?


I love the ordinary threads, the steady
Weaving of shuttles and the spindle's hum.
Oh look and see flying to us already,
Like the swan's down, barefooted Delia come!
Oh the monotonous warp and woof of living,
How beggarly the tongue of pleasure is!
All was before, all will return reviving,
And recognition be our one brief bliss.


So let it come to pass: clean platters laden
With a transparent figure on the clay, --
Just like a skin that's bleached and cracked, a maiden
Will lean and look into the waxen play.
Not ours to ask of Erebus divination:
Wax is for women what brass is for men.
Only in war our fate has consummation,
And divination too will perish then.

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