by Osip Emil'evich Mandelstam (1891 - 1938)
Translation Singable translation © by Dmitri Nikolaevich Smirnov (1948 - 2020)

Что поют часы‑кузнечик
Language: Russian (Русский) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Что поют часы-кузнечик,
Лихорадка шелестит
И шуршит сухая печка —
Это красный шёлк горит.

Что зубами мыши точат
Жизни тоненькое дно, —
Это ласточка и дочка
Отвязала мой челнок,

Что на крыше дождь бормочет —
Это чёрный шёлк горит,
Но черёмуха услышит
И на дне морском простит.

Потому что смерть невинна,
И ничем нельзя помочь,
Что в горячке соловьиной
Сердце теплое ещё.

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Note on Transliterations


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive):

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English [singable] (Dmitri Nikolaevich Smirnov) , "What grasshopper-clocks are singing", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Dmitri Smirnov

This text was added to the website: 2008-02-29
Line count: 16
Word count: 62

What grasshopper‑clocks are singing
Language: English  after the Russian (Русский) 
What grasshopper-clocks are singing --
Fever is murmuring mad,
And the withered stove is rustling
Like a silk that's burning red.

What the teeth of mice are nibbling
The slim-bottomed life to naught --
Is the swallow or her sibling
That cut loose my wretched boat.

Rain on tiles bubbles like a burning
Silk of black, but cherry tree
Will be hearing and forgiving
At the bottom of the sea.

Death is innocent, therefore
There is nothing that can heal
In that nightingale's fever
Beating heart that is warm still.


Based on:

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2008-03-06
Line count: 16
Word count: 88