Silentium

Silentium! (1830)

Speak not, lie hidden, and conceal
the way you dream, the things you feel.
Deep in your spirits let them rise
akin to stars in crystal skies
that set before the night is blurred:
delight in them and speak no word.
–
How can a heart expression find?
How should another know your mind?
Will he discern what quickens you?
A thought once uttered is untrue.
Dimmed is the fountainhead when stirred:
drink at the source and speak no word.
–
Live in your inner self alone
within your soul a world has grown,
the magic of veiled thoughts that might
be blinded by the outer light,
drowned in the noise of day, unheard…
take in their song and speak no word.

Fyodor Tyutchev (1803 -73)
translated by Vladimir Nabokov

(Note the exclamation mark!)
Silentium – Osip Mandelstam (1910)

She has not yet been born:
she is music and word,
and therefore the un-torn,
fabric of what is stirred.

Silent the ocean breathes.
Madly day’s glitter roams.
Spray of pale lilac foams,
in a bowl of grey-blue leaves.

May my lips rehearse
the primordial silence,
like a note of crystal clearness,
sounding, pure from birth!

Stay as foam Aphrodite – Art –
and return, Word, where music begins:
and, fused with life’s origins,
be ashamed heart, of heart!


(Died 1938 in the Russian Gulag, aged 47)
Shelter by Daniel Gerhartz

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