Get a feeling of Nikolay Gumilyov’s poetry

Nikolay Gumilyov was a prominent Russian poet. In April of 1910 he married Anna Akhmatova.

I’ll tell you more about Anna and Nikolay in another post.

Below is one of his poems.

Nikolay Gumilev

TO A POET

Let verse of yours be flexible, but strong,
Strong as a poplar under valley’s cover,
Strong as the earth under a plough, long,
Strong as a girl, who never knew a lover.

Reliably preserve severity at length,
Your verse need not be fluttering or booming,
Although the Muse has very easy steps,
She’s not a dancer, but a goddess, ruling.

Frolicsome din of interrupted rhymes —
Temptation for decline, so free and so easy —
Just leave for use by jokers in a dance
On city streets for people who aren’t busy.

And going out on the sacred paths,
Bring to melodiousness your chosen damnation.
You know, she’s a mistress of the mass,
She craves embraces, as a dearth — donations.

Translated by Yevgeny Bonver