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Yelena Dubrovina

Yelena Dubrovina was born in St. Petersburg, Russia where she received her Master Degree in Library Science. She left Russia in 1978, and since 1979 she has resided in Philadelphia. She is currently working at Thomas Jefferson University. Yelena is the author of two books of poetry, “Preludes to the Rain” and “Beyond the Line of No Return,” and of many literary essays. In addition, she co-authored a novel “In Search of Van Dyck” with Dr. Hilary Koprowski. From 1983 to 1991, she was on the editorial board of the poetry and art almanac Vstrechi/Encounters.

Yet Comes That Day

                  Yet comes that day
                   I go, you stay.
                                         Pearl Buck

I touch your forehead with a quiet hand,
Sweep the harpsichord with a silvery stanza.
What destiny do I withstand?
My son, what pain of mine can shield you?

What prayer can divert distress?
What figment’s nest I'll use to hold you
Within this beggared world – unsafe the pass,
As over you I close my nestling wings.

The beast’s cry, my heartfelt cry,
You'll never hear escape me,
And yet my executioner is standing by,
While you are greeting fledgling morning.

Translated from Russian by Valentina Sinkevich, with later assistance by Vera Zubarev and Michael R. Burch

Beyond the Line of No Return

My fate is written on my star.
I rhyme my verses, but so far
I sing a song of “no return”,
For I can’t cross and I can’t spurn
The unseen line of  “no return”.

Before I die I do not ask
Forgiveness for my sinful past.
I write my verses that my art
Might not be saved from pain of heart.
I cannot reach the highest hill
An inch or two is left me still.

I gaze, perhaps, no one can tell –
Behind me lies a living hell.
Beyond the line of “no return”
The road makes its sharpest turn
Where “unforgiveness“ lies unmourned
And happiness has no concern
That I can’t save my fate and soul
From will of God and thus I fall.

I whisper prayers I long forgot.
I walk on razors, asking God
To let me cross that “unseen” line
And leave my past far, far behind.
And moving forward I shall learn
The mystery of  “no return”.

Translated from Russian by the poet, with later assistance by Vera Zubarev and Michael R. Burch

Nataliya Goncharova

In her eyes is unchildish grief,
Widowed Russia weeping.
Piercing glances – furtive, brief,
Woman’s vigor in her childlike movements.

Mourning dress and veil and dirge,
Hunching shoulders trembling.
By the window, with a snowy verge,
Tearful candles burning,

Lowering veil upon her face –
Streaming tears intolerable.
In the distance – snowbound space,
Scattered roses – on the table.

Snow fell heavy the day of the duel
And the dawn was cold and dismal.
On the white – a red blood pool
The color of the roses
Brought by her beloved.

Translated from Russian by Valentina Sinkevich, with later assistance by Michael R. Burch

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