Translated by Yevgeny Bonver, December, 2000
The original text of the poem «Before the Mirror»

Before the Mirror

Nell mezzo del cammin di nostra vitta.

‘I, I, I’. What a word! It’s unfair!
Is this man I? Is this not a fake?
Could his mother love him anywhere –
Grayish-yellow, gray in his hair,
And such witty and wise as a snake?

Can it be that the boy who liked dances
In the summer Ostankino’s balls —
Is I? I who, by each of my answers,
Call for anger’s and fear’s upraises
Of the poets, beginning their toils.

Can it be that the same youthful person
Who put vigor in his arguments –
Is I? I, who, at tragic and passion’s
Elements, met in all conversations,
Has learnt usage of silence or jests.

Yet it’s always when you just freeze on
The midways through your baleful life:
>From the trivial reasons to reasons,
And behold, you are lost in wild regions,
And couldn’t find former trace of your strife.

Under garrets of France, not a fear
Of a panther has set me, at last.
Virgil does not inspire me here…
There is loneliness – framed in the mirror
That is speaking the truth of the glass.

1924