Russian Poetry VIII - Konstantin Balmont - I Came Into This World

I Came Into This World (1903)
Konstantin Balmont (1867-1942AD)

I came into this world to see the sunlight,
The skyline's sapphire glow,
I came into this world to see the sunlight,
And peaks of snow.

I came into this world to see the ocean,
The vale's rich flower-starred pall,
Mine eyes beheld a thousand worlds in motion,
And conquered all.
I overcame oblivion with the trembling
Dream-echoes of my lyre,
My heart is pure and free from all dissembling
And full of fire.

I am beloved because mine accents ringing
In suffering had their birth;
Who is my peer in the sweet art of singing?
No man on earth.

I came into this world to see the sunlight,
And if day ends its race,
I still shall sing the glory of the sunlight
In death's embrace.

- Translated from A Book of Russian Verse by C.M.Bowra

Bal'mont's persona is the symbolist poet-priest, who, by his gaze and poetic force, creates the world in his dream-image and becomes its ruler. I encompassed the worlds in a single gaze,/ I am the ruler. Poetry transforms a world of suffering into an ideal world, through the power of the poet.

I vanquished the cold oblivion
By creating my dream.
Each moment I am filled
with revelation,
I ever sing.
My dream was awakened by sorrows,
But I am loved for that,
Who is my equal in the power of song?
No one, no one.

- Straddling borders: literature and identity in Subcarpathian Rus' by Elaine Rusinko

Konstantin Bal'mont (1867-1943) and Valerij Brjusov (1873-1924) were arguably the most provocative poets in Russia in the 1890's. They believed that they more than other people enjoyed the greatest of human gifts: the ability to synthesize new experience in artistic form and to create new perceptions and values.
- The Nietzschean Image of the Poet in Some Early Works of Konstantin Bal'mont and Valerij Brjusov by Edith W. Clowes

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