When I was a ten-year-old book worm and used to kiss the dust jacket pictures of authors as if they were icons, it used to amaze me that these remote people could provoke me to love. - Erica Jong
* * *
This wintry city where I wandered,
A child, my youthful heart entranced,
Today seems but a fortune squandered,
A gained and lost inheritance!
All that came easily and lightly
And that was spent with equal ease -
The fire of soul, the prayers that nightly
Poured out from it, the first song's bliss -
All, all, in mirrors' depths decaying,
Has gone, is now of haze a streak.
The noseless fiddler - hear him playing!-
Of the irreparable speaks.
But like a foreigner, elated
At hearing Russian speech am I,
And watch, absorbed and fascinated,
The horsedrawn sledges past me fly.
Joy's breath is full of savage freshness,
A strength that sweeps all else aside.
Is someone dear to me and precious
The staircase mounting at my side?..