Best Famous Osip Mandelstam Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Osip Mandelstam poems. This is a select list of the best famous Osip Mandelstam poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Osip Mandelstam poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Osip Mandelstam poems.

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Written by Derek Walcott | Create an image from this poem

Forest Of Europe

 The last leaves fell like notes from a piano
and left their ovals echoing in the ear;
with gawky music stands, the winter forest
looks like an empty orchestra, its lines
ruled on these scattered manuscripts of snow.
The inlaid copper laurel of an oak shines though the brown-bricked glass above your head as bright as whisky, while the wintry breath of lines from Mandelstam, which you recite, uncoils as visibly as cigarette smoke.
"The rustling of ruble notes by the lemon Neva.
" Under your exile's tongue, crisp under heel, the gutturals crackle like decaying leaves, the phrase from Mandelstam circles with light in a brown room, in barren Oklahoma.
There is a Gulag Archipelago under this ice, where the salt, mineral spring of the long Trail of Tears runnels these plains as hard and open as a herdsman's face sun-cracked and stubbled with unshaven snow.
Growing in whispers from the Writers' Congress, the snow circles like cossacks round the corpse of a tired Choctaw till it is a blizzard of treaties and white papers as we lose sight of the single human through the cause.
So every spring these branches load their shelves, like libraries with newly published leaves, till waste recycles them—paper to snow— but, at zero of suffering, one mind lasts like this oak with a few brazen leaves.
As the train passed the forest's tortured icons, ths floes clanging like freight yards, then the spires of frozen tears, the stations screeching steam, he drew them in a single winters' breath whose freezing consonants turned into stone.
He saw the poetry in forlorn stations under clouds vast as Asia, through districts that could gulp Oklahoma like a grape, not these tree-shaded prairie halts but space so desolate it mocked destinations.
Who is that dark child on the parapets of Europe, watching the evening river mint its sovereigns stamped with power, not with poets, the Thames and the Neva rustling like banknotes, then, black on gold, the Hudson's silhouettes? >From frozen Neva to the Hudson pours, under the airport domes, the echoing stations, the tributary of emigrants whom exile has made as classless as the common cold, citizens of a language that is now yours, and every February, every "last autumn", you write far from the threshing harvesters folding wheat like a girl plaiting her hair, far from Russia's canals quivering with sunstroke, a man living with English in one room.
The tourist archipelagoes of my South are prisons too, corruptible, and though there is no harder prison than writing verse, what's poetry, if it is worth its salt, but a phrase men can pass from hand to mouth? >From hand to mouth, across the centuries, the bread that lasts when systems have decayed, when, in his forest of barbed-wire branches, a prisoner circles, chewing the one phrase whose music will last longer than the leaves, whose condensation is the marble sweat of angels' foreheads, which will never dry till Borealis shuts the peacock lights of its slow fan from L.
to Archangel, and memory needs nothing to repeat.
Frightened and starved, with divine fever Osip Mandelstam shook, and every metaphor shuddered him with ague, each vowel heavier than a boundary stone, "to the rustling of ruble notes by the lemon Neva," but now that fever is a fire whose glow warms our hands, Joseph, as we grunt like primates exchanging gutturals in this wintry cave of a brown cottage, while in drifts outside mastodons force their systems through the snow.
Written by Osip Mandelstam | Create an image from this poem


 self-congratulatory nonsense as the
famous gather to applaud their seeming
wonder where 
the real ones are
giant cave
hides them
the deathly talentless
bow to
the fools are
wonder where 
the real ones are
if there are
real ones.
this self-congratulatory nonsense has lasted decades and with some exceptions centuries.
this is so dreary is so absolutely pitiless it churns the gut to powder shackles hope it makes little things like pulling up a shade or putting on your shoes or walking out on the street more difficult near damnable as the famous gather to applaud their seeming greatness as the fools are fooled again humanity you sick motherfucker.
Written by Osip Mandelstam | Create an image from this poem

I don't remember the word I wished to say

 I don’t remember the word I wished to say.
The blind swallow returns to the hall of shadow, on shorn wings, with the translucent ones to play.
The song of night is sung without memory, though.
No birds.
No blossoms on the dried flowers.
The manes of night’s horses are translucent.
An empty boat drifts on the naked river.
Lost among grasshoppers the word’s quiescent.
It swells slowly like a shrine, or a canvas sheet, hurling itself down, mad, like Antigone, or falls, now, a dead swallow at our feet.
with a twig of greenness, and a Stygian sympathy.
O, to bring back the diffidence of the intuitive caress, and the full delight of recognition.
I am so fearful of the sobs of The Muses, the mist, the bell-sounds, perdition.
Mortal creatures can love and recognise: sound may pour out, for them, through their fingers, and overflow: I don’t remember the word I wished to say, and a fleshless thought returns to the house of shadow.
The translucent one speaks in another guise, always the swallow, dear one, Antigone.
on the lips the burning of black ice, and Stygian sounds in the memory.
Written by Osip Mandelstam | Create an image from this poem

The Age

 My age, my beast, is there anyone
Who can peer into your eyes
And with his own blood fuse
Two centuries' worth of vertebrae?
The creating blood gushes
From the throat of earthly things,
And the parasite just trembles
On the threshold of new days.
While the creature still has life, The spine must be delivered, While with the unseen backbone A wave distracts itself.
Again they've brought the peak of life Like a sacrificial lamb, Like a child's supple cartilage— The age of infant earth.
To free the age from its confinement, To instigate a brand new world, The discordant, tangled days Must be linked, as with a flute.
It's the age that rocks the swells With humanity's despair, And in the undergrowth a serpent breathes The golden measure of the age.
Still the shoots will swell And the green buds sprout But your spinal cord is crushed, My fantastic, wretched age! And in lunatic beatitude You look back, cruel and weak, Like a beast that once was agile, At the tracks left by your feet.
The creating blood gushes From the throat of earthly things, The lukewarm cartilage of oceans Splashes like a seething fish ashore.
And from the bird net spread on high From the humid azure stones, Streams a flood of helpless apathy On your single, fatal wound.
Written by Osip Mandelstam | Create an image from this poem

Insomnia. Homer. Taut canvas

Taut canvas.
Half the catalogue of ships is mine: that flight of cranes, long stretched-out line, that once rose, out of Hellas.
To an alien land, like a phalanx of cranes – Foam of the gods on the heads of kings – Where do you sail? What would the things of Troy, be to you, Achaeans, without Helen? The sea, or Homer – all moves by love’s glow.
Which should I hear? Now Homer is silent, and the Black Sea thundering its oratory, turbulent, and, surging, roars against my pillow.
Written by Osip Mandelstam | Create an image from this poem

Brothers let us glorify freedom's twilight

 Brothers, let us glorify freedom’s twilight –
the great, darkening year.
Into the seething waters of the night heavy forests of nets disappear.
O Sun, judge, people, your light is rising over sombre years Let us glorify the deadly weight the people’s leader lifts with tears.
Let us glorify the dark burden of fate, power’s unbearable yoke of fears.
How your ship is sinking, straight, he who has a heart, Time, hears.
We have bound swallows into battle legions - and we, we cannot see the sun: nature’s boughs are living, twittering, moving, totally: through the nets –the thick twilight - now we cannot see the sun, and Earth floats free.
Let’s try: a huge, clumsy, turn then of the creaking helm, and, see - Earth floats free.
Take heart, O men.
Slicing like a plough through the sea, Earth, to us, we know, even in Lethe’s icy fen, has been worth a dozen heavens’ eternity.
Written by Osip Mandelstam | Create an image from this poem

What shall I do with this body they gave me

 What shall I do with this body they gave me,
so much my own, so intimate with me?

For being alive, for the joy of calm breath,
tell me, who should I bless?

I am the flower, and the gardener as well,
and am not solitary, in earth’s cell.
My living warmth, exhaled, you can see, on the clear glass of eternity.
A pattern set down, until now, unknown.
Breath evaporates without trace, but form no one can deface.
Written by Osip Mandelstam | Create an image from this poem


 Rome is but nature's twin, which has reflected Rome.
We see its civic might, the signs of its decorum In the transparent air, the firmament's blue dome, The colonnades of groves and in the meadow's forum.
Written by Anna Akhmatova | Create an image from this poem

For Osip Mandelstam

 And the town is frozen solid in a vice,
Trees, walls, snow, beneath a glass.
Over crystal, on slippery tracks of ice, the painted sleighs and I, together, pass.
And over St Peter’s there are poplars, crows there’s a pale green dome there that glows, dim in the sun-shrouded dust.
The field of heroes lingers in my thought, Kulikovo’s barbarian battleground.
The frozen poplars, like glasses for a toast, clash now, more noisily, overhead.
As though it was our wedding, and the crowd were drinking to our health and happiness.
But Fear and the Muse take turns to guard the room where the exiled poet is banished, and the night, marching at full pace, of the coming dawn, has no knowledge.
Written by Osip Mandelstam | Create an image from this poem


 I have studied the Science of departures,
in night’s sorrows, when a woman’s hair falls down.
The oxen chew, there’s the waiting, pure, in the last hours of vigil in the town, and I reverence night’s ritual cock-crowing, when reddened eyes lift sorrow’s load and choose to stare at distance, and a woman’s crying is mingled with the singing of the Muse.
Who knows, when the word ‘departure’ is spoken what kind of separation is at hand, or of what that cock-crow is a token, when a fire on the Acropolis lights the ground, and why at the dawning of a new life, when the ox chews lazily in its stall, the cock, the herald of the new life, flaps his wings on the city wall? I like the monotony of spinning, the shuttle moves to and fro, the spindle hums.
Look, barefoot Delia’s running to meet you, like swansdown on the road! How threadbare the language of joy’s game, how meagre the foundation of our life! Everything was, and is repeated again: it’s the flash of recognition brings delight.
So be it: on a dish of clean earthenware, like a flattened squirrel’s pelt, a shape, forms a small, transparent figure, where a girl’s face bends to gaze at the wax’s fate.
Not for us to prophesy, Erebus, Brother of Night: Wax is for women: Bronze is for men.
Our fate is only given in fight, to die by divination is given to them.