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Poetry

[It is not fated that, in this world]

By Marina Tsvetaeva
Translated from Russian by Nina Kossman

It is not fated that, in this world,
The strong join the strong.
Thus, Siegfried parted from Brunhild,
A sword stroke instead of a marriage.In the allied brotherly hatred
–Like buffalos!–rock challenging rock.
Unknown, he left the marriage bed,
And, unknown, she slept.

Apart; even in a marriage bed,
Apart; even with joined fists,
Apart; in the two-pronged language
Too late and apart; this–our marriage!

But there’s a more ancient offense than
That: lionlike, crushing the Amazon,
The son of Thetis parted from
Ares’s daughter: Achilles

From Penthesilea.
O recall her look
From the ground–the look of a fallen
Rider! no longer down from her Olympus;
Up from the slush, yet still looking down at him!

His only jealousy now is this:
To seize her alive from the dark.
It is not fated that the strong join the strong . . .

–This is how you and I part.

July 3, 1924

English

It is not fated that, in this world,
The strong join the strong.
Thus, Siegfried parted from Brunhild,
A sword stroke instead of a marriage.In the allied brotherly hatred
–Like buffalos!–rock challenging rock.
Unknown, he left the marriage bed,
And, unknown, she slept.

Apart; even in a marriage bed,
Apart; even with joined fists,
Apart; in the two-pronged language
Too late and apart; this–our marriage!

But there’s a more ancient offense than
That: lionlike, crushing the Amazon,
The son of Thetis parted from
Ares’s daughter: Achilles

From Penthesilea.
O recall her look
From the ground–the look of a fallen
Rider! no longer down from her Olympus;
Up from the slush, yet still looking down at him!

His only jealousy now is this:
To seize her alive from the dark.
It is not fated that the strong join the strong . . .

–This is how you and I part.

July 3, 1924

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