So you will never find me—
In this life—with a sharp and invisible
Fence, I encircle myself
With honeysuckle, bind myself,
With hoarfrost, cover myself.
So you will never hear me
At night—with a crone’s subtlety:
With reticence—I fortify myself.
With rustlings, bind myself,
With silkiness, cover myself.
So you neither flower nor mold in me
Overmuch—in my undergrowth: in my books
I mislay, I bury you, alive:
With fabrications, bind you,
With any pretense, cover you.
25 June 1922
—Translated from the Russian by Mary Jane White
*Translator’s note: This work is from a cycle of poems Tsvetaeva titled To Helicon in 1940, nearly twenty years after its composition, while trying to put together a book for publication.
Mary Jane White is a poet and translator who has received National Endowment of the Arts fellowships for her work in both. Her Tsvetaeva translations have appeared in the New England Review, the Hudson Review, and the American Poetry Review, and in the anthology Poets Translate Poets (Syracuse University Press, 2013).