Marina's my name, caprice is my way...
No matter what heart, no matter what net,
My will – will break through them all.
See the curls that are dangling loose on my head? -
I will never be turned into salt.
Marina Tsvetaeva, the one born amid colors and flowers; the one that decided, immersed in despair, as usual, the last of her moments. She was gifted with a profoundly lyrical voice. She crafted that kind of poetry that mirrors every raw, unrestrained emotion. Poetry that makes the body tingle with sensations, as the mind starts to connect the dots, to think of what has been lost, of what might never come but become memories all the same, gently haunting the depths of the subconscious, giving to its uncanny nooks a heavy brushstroke of disquiet tinged with regret.
Tsvetaeva's poetry reflects an intense and rather unique lyricism, artful rhymes and keen observations on the world and its complexity just like on herself – a vulnerable position she did not even try to conceal. She was praised for the quality of her rhymes and word play. It is an enjoyable activity to analyze structures, to minutely count syllable after syllable to see how close to perfection poets may get. Whereas some people merely want to feel poetry, as they try to solve the riddles found within every verse guarded by an aura of mystique. And the only analysis they might perform relates to how to stop from feeling, once they have had enough.
I - am. You - will be. An abyss between us.I drink. You thirst. In vain we try to agree...(June 6, 1918)
This poet found inspiration in love; its evasive maneuvers, its complete absence. A stifling thought that would linger for a day, for decades.
Love, mutually felt, unaware of any boundary, oblivious of any gender.
Love, politely declined. Unkindly ignored.
Love, wandering around in silence, waiting for an answer that will never come for it is impossible to ask for it.
Rethinking everything once more,I'm tortured and the pain persists.In this, for which I know no word,Did love exist?(October 23, 1924)
She found inspiration in loss. In boredom, in jealousy. In a state of perpetual longing.
I never think or argue or whine to any one.I do not sleep.I strive for neither sea nor moon nor sunNor for the ship.I don't perceive the warmth indoors orThe greenery of grass.I don't await the gift I wished forTo come at last.…(July 13, 1924)
She found her muse even in cats.
It's funny, poet, wouldn't you say,How hard we try to make them tame.They will not play the roles of slaves:The hearts of cats will not obey!...(Cats)
In Moscow. In several other poets she admired, whose enchanting voices also sang to the Muscovite life in general. The walls, the roads. Its magic, its doomed blood. Its idiosyncrasies, its revolutions. Everything and everyone that made her breathe so much death.
Here in my Moscow, - cupolas shine.Here in my Moscow, - church bells chime....And you stroll along your Neva River slow,While I stand alone where my Moskva flows...With my whole insomnia, I'm in love with you,With my whole insomnia, I am harking you,While the sextons awake in the Kremlin toCarry out their morning tasks...(May 7, 1916)
Among so many other things she portrayed with exceptional art and that represent particles of human condition in its entirety, she found inspiration in insomnia. Something this reader knows well and that made her think about many nights from the past,
many nights to come,
as a name turned into a whisper sung by chance:
* As with every collection that Kneller translated, this book includes every poem in its original language. This was another fine work that seemed to have captured the complex essence of Tsvetaeva's poetry, so I am more than grateful. I should buy this man a box of chocolates as soon as possible.