If there’s justice—let it come now!
But if it should come after I’ve been
blotted out beneath the sky,
let its throne be cast down.
Let the heavens rot in evil everlasting,
and you, with your cruelty,
go in your iniquity
and live and bathe in your blood.

And cursed be he who cries out: Revenge!
Vengeance like this, for the blood of a child,
Satan has yet to devise.
Let the blood fill the abyss!
Let it pierce the blackest depths
and devour the darkness
and eat away and reach
the rotting foundations of the earth.

– Hayim Nahman Bialik. excerpt from On the Slaughter

translated by Peter Cole


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She has yet to be born:
she is music and word,
and she eternally bonds
all life in this world.

The sea breathes gently;
the day glitters wildly.
A bowl of dazed azure
sways pale foam-lilac.

May I too reach back
to that ancient silence,
like a note of crystal
pure from its source.

Stay, Aphrodite, as foam.
Return, word, to music.
Heart, be shy of heart,
fused with life’s root.

– Osip Mandelstam. Silentium

translated by Robert Chandler and Boris Dralyuk