To Natasha Schtempel

As if to limp earth empty and to lift it up
With every hobbled heavened step;
As if to piece and place some delicate wreckage
Freely and fully in the space by which it’s bound;
As if the halt in her were a halt of mind:
Three friends; laughter; landscape locked in time;
And the same gray weather mothering all to nothing
But the will to walk in a world made newly whole
Because the soul of brokenness is the soul.

— Osip Mandelstam
(May 4, 1937)

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