Shut up: to be alone is to be alive,
To be live to be a man —
Even hazied, even queasied by this madsmash hinterland,
Lost and locked in the sky’s asylum eye.

This is my prayer to the air
To which I turn and turn expecting news or ease,
Nerves minnowing from shadowhands
Toward shadowlands inside of me. This is my prayer

To be of and under a human-scale sky,
To suffer a human-scale why, to leave
This blunt sun, these eternal furrows,
For the one country that comes when I close my eyes.

— Osip Mandelstam
(January 18, 1937)

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