Quotes by Osip Mandelstam

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Take from my palms, to soothe your heart, a little honey, a little sun, in obedience to Persephone's bees. You can't untie a boat that was never moored, nor hear a shadow in its furs, nor move through thick life without fear. For us, all that's left is kisses tattered as the little bees that die when they leave the hive. Deep in the transparent night they're still humming, at home in the dark wood on the mountain, in the mint and lungwort and the past. But lay to your heart my rough gift, this unlovely dry necklace of dead bees that once made a sun out of honey. more...

Perhaps my whisper was already born before my lips. more...

A raznochinets needs no memory-it is enough for him to tell of the books he has read, and his biography is done. more...

My turn shall also come: I sense the spreading of a wing. more...

Only in Russia poetry is respected-it gets people killed. more...

I love my poor earth because I have seen no other. more...

The people need poetry that will be their own secret To keep them awake forever, And bathe them in the bright-haired wave of its breathing. more...

Logic is the kingdom of the unexpected. To think logically means to be continually amazed. more...

Where to start? Everything cracks and shakes, The air trembles with similes, No one world's better than another; the earth moans with metaphors. more...

I was stopped in the dense Soviet wood by bandits who called themselves my judges. more...

Perhaps the whisper was born before lips, And the leaves in treelessness circled and flew, And those, to whom we impart our experience as bliss, Acquire their forms before we do more...

Poetry is the plough that turns up time in such a way that the abyssal strata of time, its black earth, appear on the surface. more...

And I walk out of space Into an overgrown garden of values, And tear up seeming stability And self-comprehension of causes. And your, infinity, textbook I read by myself, without people - Leafless, savage medical book, A problem book of gigantic radicals. more...

Only in Russia poetry is respected - it gets people killed. Is there anywhere else where poetry is so common a motive for murder? more...

Our lives no longer feel ground under them. At ten paces you can't hear our words. But whenever there's a snatch of talk It turns to the Kremlin mountaineer. more...

He forges decrees in a line like horseshoes, One for the groin, one the forehead, temple, eye, He rolls the executions on his tongue like berries. He wishes he could hug them like big friends from home. more...


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