Fuck this sulk, these pansy stanzas tickling doom.
Devil me down to the roots of my hair,
And further — ah, François, le barbier débonnaire,
Scalp me back to the Paris of youth!
Odds are I’m alive.
Odds are, like a jockey gone to slop,
There’s skip and nimble in me yet,
There’s a length of neck to stake, and there’s cunning,
And there’s an animal under me running
Which, if I can hold on, will not stop.
Thirty-one years alive in cherry white,
Thirty-one years belong to blossoms.
Who hears them, the earthworms like jellied rain
Chewing through soil and the solid dead
While all of tall-sailed Moscow whips and snaps
In the instant’s wind?
Easy, boy: impatience, too, is candy,
And we are sulk-soft, silk-kneed, mild.
Let’s take the track early, and pace ourselves,
Until all the trapped acids trickle out as sweat,
And we take time between our teeth like a bit
And let fly the wild.
— Osip Mandelstam
(June 7, 1931)