Capricorn: A Self-Portrait and a Poem

Tuesday December 22nd 2020
Self portrait by Paul Cezanne

Self portrait by Paul Cezanne born 19 January 1839

For joy’s sake, from my hands

For joy’s sake, from my hands,

take some honey and some sun,

as Persephone’s bees told us.


Not to be freed, the unmoored boat.

Not to be heard, fur-booted shadows.

Not to be silenced, life’s dark terrors.

Now we only have kisses,

dry and bristling like bees,

that die when they leave the hive.

Rustling in clear glades of night,

in the dense forests of Taygetos,

time feeds them; honeysuckle; mint.

For joy’s sake take my strange gift,

this simple thread of dead, dried bees,

turned honey in the sun.


by Osip Mandelstam, born 15 January 1891, translated by AS Kline


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