“Nighttime, the street, a pharmacy”

Nighttime, the street, a pharmacy,
A lamp. Its senseless, dusky flame.
Live for another quarter century.
All will, a cycle, be the same.

You’ll die – again you’ll start anew.
And all will, as of old, repeat.
Night, water, icy ripples, dew.
A pharmacy, a lamp, the street.

By Aleksandr Blok
translated, from the Russian, by Max Thompson

Max Thompson is a translator of Russian prose and poetry, principally of the 20th century, and is currently working on Chingiz Aitmatov’s novella “The White Steamship.” He is a 2nd-year MFA student in creative writing and translation at the University of Arkansas.

Aleksandr Blok is the greatest Symbolist poet of the Russian “Silver Age” of poetry (in the early 20th century), and his work influenced a great many poets who were to follow him, including Anna Akhmatova.