Like a late gift long awaited, winter:
Personal, palpable stirrings.
I love the early animal of her,
These woozy, easy swings.
Soft atrocity, sweet fright,
As if for ravishment one first bowed and gave thanks . . .
And yet, before the forest’s clean, hewn circle of light,
Even the raven banks.
Power more powerful for its precariousness,
Blue more blue for its ghost of white:
Consider the river, its constancy, its skin of almost ice,
Like a lullaby nullified by wakefulness . . .
— Osip Mandelstam
(December 29-30, 1936)