Russian Poetry XXV - Fyodor Tyutchev - The Abyss

The Abyss
Fyodor Tyutchev (1803–1873 AD)

When sacred Night sweeps heavenward, she takes
the glad, the winsome day, and folding it,
rolls up its golden carpet that had been
spread over an abysmal pit.

Gone vision-like is the external world,
and mad, a homeless orphan, has to face
in utter helplessness, naked, alone,
the blackness of immeasurable space.

Upon himself he has to lean; with mind
abolished, thought unfathered, in the dim
depths of his soul he sinks, for nothing comes
from outside to support or limit him.

All life and brightness seem an ancient dream--
while in the very substance of the night,
unraveled, alien, he now perceives
a fateful something that is his by right.

Translation by Vladimir Nabokov from
Verses and Versions: Three Centuries of Russian Poetry

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