Near, far off, not here, not there

by Vladimir Solovyov

English version by Boris Jakim and Laury Magnus
Original Language Russian

Near, far off, not here, not there,
In realms of mystic reveries,
In a world invisible to mortal eyes,
In a world neither of laughter nor of tears

There it was, goddess, that I first
Recognized you one misty night.
A strange child was I,
And strange dreams did I see.

It was in an alien guise that you appeared
To me. Your voice sounded obscure.
And as the obscure creation of a childish dream
I long considered you.

Now you appear to me once more
With a caress of unexpected love.
I see you now not in a dream,
Your speech is clear to me.

I, who had been deafened in an alien world
By a roar of incoherent speech,
Suddenly heard in your salutation
The word of my homeland.

The voice of my homeland in your magic speech,
In the light of your azure eyes,
My homeland's reflection in ethereal rays.
In the golden color of your marvelous curls.

Everything by which my heart and mind live,
Everything trembling here within my breast,
All powers of feeling, will, and thought
That are mine I've given into your hands.

That morose despot, the cold ego,
Sensing its death, trembles.
As soon as it sees you approaching from afar
It grows silent, pallid, and then flees.

Let it perish, arrogant fugitive!
In free bondage and in living death,
I am the sanctuary, I am the sacrifice and the priest.
Tormented by bliss, I stand before you.

-- from Vladimir Solovyov's Poems of Sophia, Translated by Boris Jakim / Translated by Laury Magnus

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Near, far off, not