Eurydice to Orpheus


For them, with nothing but the last wisps
Of a shroud, not even lips or cheeks...
O, didn't Orpheus rise above his station
When he went down to Hades?

For them, who have renounced their ties
To earth... Who, on the bed of beds, composed
The great lies of an introspective life -
Who could see inside - this meeting is a knife.

They've sacrificed - with every rose's blood
To have the spacious cut-out of
Immortality...
You, now forging upstream
With love: Let me rest in oblivion's

Sweet shade. In this illusory house,
You, who are flesh, are a ghost - and in death,
I am alive... I beseech you, at once:
"Forgive me, and go away!"

I won't be swayed by you! I won't follow!
I have no hands, nor lips that I would press
Against your lips! In Hades, the viper's fangs
Mark the end of a woman's desire.

They've sacrificed - remember my cries! -
For every inch of this resting space.
Orpheus should not descend to Eurydice,
And brothers should not disturb their sisters.


- Marina Tsvetayeva
March 23, 1923
Translated by Greg Simon