Jul 30 2014

Marina Tsvetaeva – I know the truth

Published by at 8:08 am under Poetry

I know the truth
by Marina Tsvetaeva

English version by Elaine Feinstein

I know the truth — give up all other truths!
No need for people anywhere on earth to struggle.
Look — it is evening, look, it is nearly night:
what do you speak of, poets, lovers, generals?

The wind is level now, the earth is wet with dew,
the storm of stars in the sky will turn to quiet.
And soon all of us will sleep under the earth, we
who never let each other sleep above it.

— from Tsvetayeva: Selected Poems, by Marina Tsvetaeva / Translated by Elaine Feinstein


/ Photo by KellyB. /

I return to this poem regularly, and it brings me to a halt each time. There is such a mature, weary compassion in these lines.

The question is not whether we will live or die. We all live (though we may not always feel as if we do). And we all die (though we may discover that death is not what we imagined).

The real question is, while we move and act upon the earth, do we ease the suffering of others or add to it? Will we let each other rest above the earth, or only beneath it?

Life and death are a given. It is what we do with them that matters.

The whole while the earth says, “Is not every beautiful thing yours already?” And the night sky, for all its immense movement, is completely at peace. So what has humanity lost sight of?

May our eyes see, though our hearts break.
May our hearts break, that they may open.
May our hearts bleed, that we know life flows through them.

Marina Tsvetaeva, Marina Tsvetaeva poetry, Secular or Eclectic poetry Marina Tsvetaeva

Russia (1892 – 1941) Timeline
Secular or Eclectic

Marina Tsvetaeva’s life was caught up in the turmoil of the Russian Revolution and its aftermath. Her husband fought on the side of the Tsar and then in the White Guard attempting to restore the line of Tsars. Marina, her husband, and their children moved to Paris to live among the Russian expatriate community there, but they were eventually shunned because her husband was thought to be a Soviet spy — which apparently turned out to be true. Throughout this time, Marina desperately struggled to feed her family, sometimes having to resort to theft. They later moved back to Soviet Russia, where her husband was eventually arrested and killed, despite his earlier collaboration. Marina Tsvetaeva committed suicide in 1941.

Despite the struggles and tragedies of her life, her writing reflects a sharp mind, a seeing eye, and heart.

More poetry by Marina Tsvetaeva

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Marina Tsvetaeva – I know the truth”

  1. ebrahimon 31 Jul 2014 at 12:54 am

    HOW MANY LETTERS HAVE BEEN WRITTEN WITH THE INK OF BLOOD?
    HOW SO MANY WORDS AND IMAGES HAS BLOOD SHAPED AND FORMED?
    BLOOD RUNS THROUGH THE BRUSH – THE HUES OF BLOOD MANY,
    THE PALETTE RICH IN DIVERSE AND INTENSE COLOUR -
    LIGHT AND BRIGHT, DARK AND STORMY, GREY OR PASTEL EASY.

    BLOOD AS OCEANS FULL,
    BLOOD AS RIVERS GUSHING FORTH,
    BLOOD AS TEARS FALLING –
    DROP BY DROP…SLOWLY…DELIBERATELY.
    BLOOD LIKE HONEY!

  2. Pegon 31 Jul 2014 at 7:44 am

    The poet awakens! “I know the truth — give up all other truths.”

    She got it and let go of all duality. A forerunner to the ascension. “And soon all of us will sleep under the earth, we who never let each other sleep above it.” She knew it wasn’t time yet. She began the pattern of breaking free to help each one of us who has at this time, and together our patterns will help make it easier for the next.

    I feel a deep connection with this poet. Sisters. My mom suffered greatly while on earth because she was experiencing the ecstatic but found no answers from within her church. Her time was not while in body but she has her light body now, as I am sure is the poet, both no longer constrained to earth.

  3. Bob Corbinon 31 Jul 2014 at 1:49 pm

    Roethke, then Tsvetaeva.
    Such saddness, such compassion.
    She had “the edge”
    Then went off it before age 50.
    But she left this poem!!!

  4. Patriciaon 06 Aug 2014 at 7:29 am

    Deeply beautiful!

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