Rivals – K. Balmont

Russian Silver Age poetry translations, 27/?

Winding down the theme of love, and opening the theme of conflict, we return to Konstantin Balmont with my second translation of his work, again from his 1903 collection Let Us Be Like The Sun, from its “Snake Eye” cycle. Examples of symbolism, all of the poems in that cycle deal with the main theme of creative freedom and individualism.  


We may stride straight across any wide-spreading plain,
And progress, never meeting in each other’s path.
And each will remain lord of his own domain,
Until the fateful star is ascendant in wrath.

We may cast down shadows of twin discontent.
The moon will extend them as it shines above.
We’ll be the same steps in one mountain ascent
And equal — till it’s the same woman we love.

And then without helping ourselves we’ll be lying,
And then we’ll forget, both, the God we both knew.
We can, oh we can, achieve all we were trying,
But only, my equal, while we are but two.

Konstantin Balmont, 1903; translation by Tamara Vardomskaya, July 2016.