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SPIRITUAL  POETRY 
Nature
The Birch
Summertime
March
Evening
The World Through the Eyes of Faith
Snow
The Birds Are Back
May
Autumnal Season
Autumn
To Autumn
Nightfall
On a Violet
The Stars
Springtime (Princess N.V. Ourousoff)
Springtime (K.M. Fofanov)
Celestial music
When yellowing wheat stands shimmering in the breeze
Blessings on you
In winter
The forest monastics
Twilight
The Pine Forest
The Winter of Life
North
Spring
Prayer
Snow
Springtime
Spring


THE BIRCH


Under my sill

The white birch tree

Stands dressed in snow

And silvery.

On fluffy boughs,

All snowy edged,

A white tasseled fringe

Of clusters hangs.

The birch-tree stands

In drowsy quiet;

White snowflakes flame

With golden fire.

And lazily

The circling dawn

Showers the boughs

With silver anon.


birch

Sergey Yesenin

Translated by Natalia Sheniloff

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Summer

SUMMERTIME

The bird-cherry tree is now long withered,

And mid the flowering summer gardens

No longer sway in gentle breezes

The fans of lilacs fragrant flowers.

 

The greening hops are slowly climbing

Along the walls of long-poled perches;

The reddish glow of lush peonies

Flames low over the sumptuous grasses.

 

The golden stars gaze in the mirrored

Transparent currents of the river;

Amid the rye, like deep-blue eyes,

The lovely cornflowers bluely glimmer.

 

We have attained the crown of summer,

But still I pine for days of springtime;

Despite the present joyous blooming,

My heart is lightly filled with sorrow.

 

I have become afraid of losing

All that makes life so greatly wondrous,

All that the heart has long awaited,

For which the soul has keenly thirsted.

 

K. R.

Translated by Natalia Sheniloff

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MARCH

Tis not yet March, but melting snow
Already runs and bares the ground.
Of springtime currents merry course
Once more I hear the joyous sound.
The streams did break the brittle ice,
The rooks have flown back from afar.
Another week or two shall pass,
And all will come alive and flower.
O sun, do lovingly warm the earth
With thy revitalizing rays,
And with a tale of spring revive
The meadows mute and deadened space.
Tis time for icy wintered souls
To wake from paralyzing sleep:
O grant me, spring, thy good and light
In battling darkness for to keep.

K. R.
Translated by Natalia Sheniloff
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EVENING

The ocean blew into my face
The freshness of the setting sun.
A rumble as of rustling woods
Or muted bells rushed over me.
Two seagulls there, upon the waves,
All spellbound sat and gazed beyond
Into the evening, where the sun
Was settling down into its bark.
That ocean bark of blazing gold
Was all encircled by the clouds,
And night came wandering down sunsets path,
The skyline shading on its way.
Beyond the ocean, in the haze,
The cliffs and precipices towered,
And all was dark upon the earth,
While in the heavens the angels prayed.

V. Utrenev
Translated By Natalia Sheniloff
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NORTH

I see again my native north:
Stretching away far out of sight
A plain of greening fields before me,
And oer the river a gold-domed church.

Around, as far as eye can see,
There is no trace of habitation.
Just gorges, meadows, woods, and hills,
Wide open spaces paradise!

How curative are for my heart
The silence and tranquility,
And once again my soul is filled
With joy and magnanimity.

K. R.
Translated by Natalia Sheniloff
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THE WINTER OF LIFE

Winter valleys are snow-covered,
All around is crisp and clear
Graying hairs at our temples
Indicate that change is near.
Visions of the heart are purer,
And desires have all flown,
The sting of death no longer frightens,
Cares are buried under snow.
Great joy comes to us in winter:
To the manger we do speed
And, rejoicing with the magi,
The star of Bethlehem we see.

- A. Korovay-Metelitsky
Translated by Natalia Sheniloff
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THE PINE FOREST

Pines
The wind is rustling through the crowns of forest pines.
I wander through the woods alone what utter joy!
The sacred spaces of my soul are open wide,
And inspiration comes to glorify the Lord.
O, how I wish to breathe in to the fullest depth
The fresh invigorating balsam of the pine;
Revitalizing old lifes spiritual strength
For a new life of sacred mission now assigned,
Wherein my soul, all purified by earthly sorrow,
Will strive not back to where the ancient forest stands,
But will strive ardently to merge with the blue yonder,
Where mighty choirs of angels boom like Gods own thunder!

- Princess N.V. Ourusoff
Translated by Natalia Sheniloff
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THE WORLD THROUGH THE EYES OF FAITH
I saw God wash the world last night
With His sweet showers on high;
And then when morning came,
I saw Him hang it out to dry.
He washed each tiny blade of grass
And every trembling tree;
He flung His showers against the hills
And swept the rolling sea.
The white rose is a cleaner white;
The red, a richer red
Since God washed every fragrant face
And put them all to bed.
Theres not a bird, theres not a bee
That wings along the way,
But is a cleaner bird or bee
Than it was yesterday.
I saw God wash the world last night;
Ah, would He had washed me
As clean of all my dust and dirt
As that old white birch tree!
- W.L. Stidger

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SNOW
Fall, o fall, thou snow so downy,
Like a blanket spread thy girth.
Fall, o light one, fall, o pure one,
Cover up the frozen earth.
As thou hazes the horizon,
Every color, hue, and shade
Veil thou in purest whiteness,
Cover all as with a shroud.
To the colorless, and silent,
Sometimes lifeless, without zest,
Hushed and deeply muted nature
Give thou peace and quiet rest
To forget itself in winter,
Deeply slumbering till spring,
Dreaming all the wondrous fancies,
All the reveries thou bringst;
To amass new strength and powers
For renewed life in the spring,
When the mystery of creation
Resurrects all frozen things.
- K. R.
Translated by Natalia Sheniloff

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THE BIRDS ARE BACK
Tis barely March, and yet the snow
Already melts and bares the ground.
The springtime waters cheerful flow
Once more entrances and astounds.
The currents break the brittle ice.
The birds have all returned to nest
And in just two or three weeks time
The world will come alive and bloom.
O sun, with your enlivening rays
Do tenderly warm up the earth,
And with the fairy tale of spring
Dispel the deadness of the fields!
And thou, my soul, still winter-bound,
Tis time for thee to wake from sleep:
Grant light and goodness to me, spring,
To combat evil and the dark!

- K. R.
Translated by Natalia Sheniloff

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MAY
The month of May is back! The cranes
Have all returned to preen,
The fields are all a-bloom with flowers,
The forests are all green.
There follows winters mighty sleep
A wakening of all,
As after long nights darkness comes
The nascence of the dawn.
The winter merely seemed to wait
For springs caressing kiss,
And nature instantly revived,
All jubilant and pleased.
The whole world sings the breadth of fields,
The murmur of the grove,
The magic beauty of the spring,
The nightingales song.
With springtime happily content,
The poet sleeps no more.
The stirring of creative power
He senses in his soul;
He plucks his tender lyres strings
And full of inspiration,
His song upwards to heaven wings
In freedoms exultation.
- K. R.
Translated by Natalia Sheniloff

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AUTUMNAL SEASON
The beauty of the earth is wasted
By summers cruel switch to winter,
Tis just the canopy of heaven
That stays intact in all its splendor.
The flowers mourn the saddened garden,
Their fragrance can no more be scented;
But raise thine eyes, and in the heavens
The Milky Way glows luminescent.
Here all is inclement and dreary,
The forests finery has fallen,
Yet stars in heaven are undimmed
And shine in all their dazzling glory.
And though the azure of the skies
May be overcast with misty haze,
We know that there, beyond the clouds,
Tis always wondrously ablaze!
- K. R.

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AUTUMN
A clear autumn day,
The forest stands golden,
Sadly bidding farewell
To its yellow-hued leaves.
The color of sky
Is steely blue-gray,
Stretched across like a ribbon
Flies a row of cranes.
Like a bright green carpet
At the foot of the hills
The winter crops
Delight the eye.
Oer the overgrown pond
With the silent water
The weeping willows
Are quietly leaning.
Flocks of jackdaws circle
Above empty fields,
Picking out grain
From neglected sheaves.
A clear autumn day,
The forest stands golden,
Sadly bidding farewell
To its yellow-hued leaves

- N. V. Urusova.
Translated by Natalia Sheniloff

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TO AUTUMN

Unavoidable and fatal,
Thou hast come upon us slyly,
O, thou tenderest destroyer
Of the summers pleasing looks!
Having lured both woods and gardens
With seduction and caresses,
Thou dost color their attire
In entrancing hues and shades.
Having clothed them all most kingly
In the royal robes of splendor,
Thou wilt strip off in thy whimsy
The rich vestments of the groves.
Yet until the phantom beauty
Has been lifted from the forest,
How alluring and how lovely
Is this colorful palette!
Very soon, with mournful meekness,
In the quiet hour of fading,
Our garden will bequeath us
A last smile of farewell.
As I come to peace most humbly
With this sad and solemn season,
To the twilight time of nature
I must give up in defeat.
- . .
Translated by Natalia Sheniloff
NIGHTFALL
The evening sea bade the sunset farewell,
The surf sang a hymn to the forthcoming night,
An unearthly calm merged with silence on earth.
And Someone was lighting the stars in the dark,
And Someone was walking on waves as on ground,
Unseen, and unheard, and ethereal as air.
The swelling waves heeded the bodiless Spirit,
The cliffs in their deep granite dreams were all ear.
The evening sea seemed as though it were praying,
As though it appealed to the heavens from earth,
And in that immensity all that once happened
Revealed itself now in the silence of night.
The winds, and the waves, and the nocturnal cliffs,
As though merged together in one single swell,
Gazed deep into space beyond all earthly bounds,
Where the fathomless mystery of ages began,
Where the robes of the Lord shone with myriads of stars,
And the temple all glittered in bright starlit glory,
Where heaven and sea sang their eternal song,
And wave upon wave crashed its way to the shore.

- V.N. Utrenev
Translated by Natalia Sheniloff

THE STARS
At the hour of midnight, near a stream,
Lift thine eyes and watch the starry sky:
Myriads of miracles take place
In that vastly distant world on high.
The eternal candles of the night
Are unseen amid the glare of day,
Giant pillars of unquenched fire
Move so stately and so far away.
In the quiet hour of midnight calm,
Chasing the deceit of sleep away,
Let thy soul gaze deeply at the words
Of the fishermen from Galilee,
And within the confines of this book
The eternal shall unfold before thee,
The celestial firmament of heaven
In its boundlessness and radiant beauty.

- A. S. Khomyakov (1804-1860)
Translated by Natalia Sheniloff
Stars

ON A VIOLET

With all my heart I love this modest flower -
How much its merely being says to me!
In early spring a fresh bouquet of violets
Invigorates and warmly comforts me.
While walking through the garden, in
the grass
These nearly unseen flowers I espy -
I stand and ponder, and I dare not pluck:
Of whom dost thou remind so
poignantly?
And I remember people with a soul
As genuinely humble as a violets,
Theyre barely seen, theyre pitiful at times,
But all shine brightly in the eyes of God.

- A. Korovay-Metelitsky
Translated by Natalia Sheniloff


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SPRINGTIME
The sun so brightly shining,
The apple trees in bloom,
Birds from the south are flying
And weaving nests anew.
The yellow dandelions
Have spread over the fields,
And in the lilac bushes
The nightingale sings.
The violets in the woods,
Alongside morels placed,
Peer out from under leaves
With limpid, joyous gaze.
Now overflowing with water,
The streams do merrily run,
And both the grass and bushes
Await their flowering turn
Again the glorious cycle –
Each spring, just like the first,
The world’s a thing of beauty,
A paradise on earth.
Princess N.V. Ourousoff
Translated by Natalia Sheniloff
Spring
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SPRINGTIME
With the chant of paschal prayers
And a pealing of the bells,
Spring comes bursting in upon us
From its distant southern lairs.
And today in our garden,
In a shy, secluded spot,
I saw lilies of the valley
Kiss a white-winged pale moth.

- K.M. Fofanov (1862 1911)
Translated by Natalia Sheniloff
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CELESTIAL MUSIC

Out of eternity
Music was heard,
And into infinity
Straightaway flowed,
All chaos along with it
Taking away.
In the chasm like a whirlwind
The stars began swirling,
Their every ray singing
Like musical strings,
And life, being stirred
By this divine vibration,
Shows only to him
Its true inspiration,
Who is sometimes attune
To this music celestial,
Whose mind is wide open,
Whose heart is aflame.
- Ya. P. Polonskiy (1819 1898)
Translated by Natalia Sheniloff
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* * *
When yellowing wheat stands shimmering in the breeze,
Which rustles through the freshly-scented woods,
And in the garden hides the crimson plum
Beneath the sweet shade of the greening leaf;

When dew-sprinkled lilies of the field.
In rosy eve or in the golden hour of dawn,
From neath the bushes nod their silver heads
In pleasant greeting, as I wander by;

When icy brooks along the gorges run,
Immersing all my thoughts into a dream,
And murmur in my ear mysterious tales
Of peaceful lands from whence they spring:

Then is my souls anxiety becalmed,
My frowning brow is eased and set at rest,
And happiness seems possible on earth,
And in the open heavens I see God
- Mikhail Lermontov
Translated by Natalia Sheniloff

BLESSINGS ON YOU

Forests and fields, blessings on you!
Blessings on hills, on vales and rills,
On freedom and on skies of blue!
Blessings upon my pilgrims staff,
Blessings on this bedraggled sack,
And on the vastness of the steppes,
The suns bright light, the dark of night,
The narrow, lonely, winding track
Beneath this beggars steps!
I bless each grass-blade neath the sun
And every star above.
O, if my soul could be but one
With all of you within my love,
And I could lock in my embrace,
All friends, all foes, my brothers all
And everything on this earths face!
Forests and fields, blessings on you!

- Count A.K. Tolstoy
Translated by Kosara Gavrilovic.


IN WINTER

 Winter
The quietude
Of mute and tranquil wilderness!
The brilliance
Of meadows blanketed by snow!
The purity
Of limpid waters turned to ice!
The loveliness
Of groves and forests iced with rime!
How exquisite
The magic sights of wintertime!
Sleep, oh my soul,
As sleep the snowdrifts, ponds and birch
Oh, learn to fathom
Natures stern serenity,
Wherein reside
All bliss and earths felicity.
Brighter than snow
May all thy dreams and visions be,
And purer than ice
Thy hearts impassioned aspirations.
Let winter teach thee,
By its exquisite paucity,
To clothe thyself
In spirits beauty incorporeal.

- K. R.
(Grand-Duke Konstantin Romanov)
Poem translated by Kosara Gavrilovic
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THE FOREST MONASTICS

Deep in the forest I recall one night.
A lonely skete gleamed like the Milky Way,
A single bells ringing rose through the mist
And marked the passing of the dying day.
Beneath the benediction of the bell,
The pines, erect and tall, motionless stayed.
Before the ancient icons of the saints
The forest elders stood there long and prayed.
In that vast sea of forest peace, remain
The monks like forms of other-worldly life.
There is no grief, no groans of human pain,
No age-long enmities, no hurt, no strife.
All that is left behind, outside the Pale
The agony of years, all gone to waste,
The tears. Abandoned also was the trail
Of days whose very trace is here erased.
And when again the sun sends forth its rays,
Into Gods Garden, which no eye can see,
This forest turns. A myriad-voiced praise
Is raised and with the incense of each tree
Sent to the Sun of all Eternity.
The forest skete.

- V. Utrenev.
Translated by Kosara Gavrilovic.
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TWILIGHT

The gloaming has already deepened,
But in the sky, above the weary earth,
The crimson gleam of sunlight glitters,
Reflected on the golden domes;

And summoning to dreams and prayer
All those who orphaned are and poor,
The crosses on the high bell towers
Continue shining here and there,

As though the suns delay in resting
On every churchs golden dome
Strives to remind us of the One
Who promised us the resurrection.
- Prince Vladimir Paley
Petrograd. February 1917.
Translated by Natalia Sheniloff
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SPRING

Spring, o spring! How pure the air!

How clear the azure sky!

With its cerulean shining blue

It does so blind the eye.

Spring, o spring! On zephyr’s wings

How inexpressibly high,

Caressing sunshine’s fiery rays,

The clouds so loftily fly!

The running streams! The sparkling streams!

The river thunders by

And carries on its mighty crest

The cracking, thawing ice!

The trees are somewhat bare as yet,

But in the grove the leaves,

As always crackle underfoot

And fragrantly appease.

Towards the sun the unseen lark

Flies off and sweetly sings

A beauteous chant, a wondrous hymn

In honor of the spring…

 

– Ye. Baratynskiy

Translated by Natalia Sheniloff


Spring
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PRAYER

There are illuminating moments:

The earth is so incomparably fair!

And such unearthly bliss and rapture

Encompass our soul.

To the Creator of the world

The flower gifts fragrance, the bird – its song:

And all creation to its Maker

Does offer thanks.

O if we could only join together

With flower, and bird, and all of earth,

And with them all pray just as they do

In single prayer;

And without words, thoughts, or entreaties

Let our trembling soul flame in delight,

Full of life’s joyous wonderful oblivion

And reverent awe!

 

— K. R.

— Translated by Natalia Sheniloff

 


Prayer
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SNOW

Fall, o fluffy snow, keep falling,

Like a veil spread over all;

Fall, o light one, fall, o pure one,

Cover thou the frozen earth.

Spreading haziness o’er yonder,

Every color, hue, and shade

In the purity of whiteness

Do attire like a shroud.

And to nature, now so placid,

Silent, colorless, and mute

And at times so very lifeless,

Give tranquility and rest,

To forget all during winter,

And to sleep until the spring,

Dreaming all the pleasant visions

Thou hast wafted onto it,

Storing up new inner power

For a different plane of being,

And in spring be resurrected

By the mystery of creation.

 

— K. R.

— Translated by Natalia Sheniloff

 


SNOW
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SPRINGTIME

Spring streams are running… The sunny blue sky

Has joyously warmed up the fields.

The sorrows of winter, so long being suffered,

Are shed off by earth’s running tears.

Midnight dawns, melting with languorous bliss,

Chase ye far out of our sight

The long winter night with its thousands of stars,

So dark and so long in the skies.

Swallows, so keenly awaiting return,

Gentlest children of spring,

Flying back here to familiar nests,

Bring back our happiest dreams.

The apple tree, shaking off snow, is attired

In a garment of purest white blooms;

O, how enchanting it is, with its freshness

So fragrantly filling the air!

Warm us, o sun, and blindingly glitter,

Replacing the darkness and ice;

Let us take pleasure in ravishing springtime,

Forgetting the winter and snow.

– K. R.

Translated by Natalia Sheniloff

 

Spring

 

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SPRING

  Spring

It’s barely March, and yet the snow

Is melting now, baring the ground.

I listen to the merry flow

Of springtime waters with great joy.

The streams have broken up the ice,

The rooks have come back to their nests…

Another two-three weeks will pass –

The world will bloom, enlivened again.

Caress the ground, o wondrous sun,

With thy life-giving and warm rays,

And with spring’s fairy tale refresh

The dour deadness of the fields!

It’s time for my benumbed soul

To wake up from its winter sleep:

O, give me light and goodness, spring,

To combat darkness and live on!

 

– K. R.

– Translated by Natalia Sheniloff

 

 

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