Today I am in cobwebs made of light –
Black-haired, fair-brown –
Mankind needs light and clear blue air
And it needs bread and Elbrus snow.
And there is no one to consult with me,
While I will hardly find one on my own:
Not in the Urals, not in the Crimea –
There are no such transparent, weeping stones.
Mankind needs a poem mysteriously familiar,
To be awakened by it all his days
And in the sound of it to lave forever –
As in a flaxen curl, a nut-brown wave.
--Osip Mandelstam (1937); trans by Ilya Bernstein