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Aleksandr Blok: Autumn Love

by John Cobley

Friday Mar 29th, 2024



This mystical poem of Alexander Blok, written when he was almost 27, is not usually anthologized. It describes his relationship with Christ during his own crucifixion as he looks out over his homeland.


Autumn Love


When rowan clusters start turning red

Among the damp and rusty leaves, --

When the executioner’s bony hand

Hammers the last nail into my palm, --


When above the leaden ripple of rivers

On grey, damp heights,

Facing my harsh homeland

I begin to writhe on the cross, --


Then—far and wide

I look through the blood of my dying eyes

And see Christ floating towards me

Along the wide river in a boat.


In his eyes were the same hopes,

And the same rags were on him.

And a palm pierced by a nail

Looks pitifully from out of his clothes.


Christ! My homeland expanse is sad!

I’m tired of being on the cross!

And your boat—will it be moored

At my crucified height?



And now the wind has broken and killed 

the clumps of spreading willows.


And with the dust of the road

Morose old age has lain on my cheeks.


And in the dark orbits

My eyes have sparkled with impossibility…


Both joy and glory –

Everything is in this bottomless

And distant radiance.


But the downtrodden grass 

Is sad,

And the leaves spiral in the naked forest…


Too dream, to dream, to dream:

Familiar sun!

I am more and more sorry for you…


Oh foolish heart,

Laughing boy,

When will you stop beating?



In the wind, your shoulders

Are so pleasing to embrace:

You think—a gentle caress,

I know—of the rapture of rebellion!


My eyes glimmer like night candles

And I listen greedily—

A terrible story stirs,

And the starry limits breathe…


O, on this radiant evening

You will still be just as beautiful;

And, true to the dark paradise,

You will be my bright star!


I know that the wind is cold,

I believe that autumn is impassive!


But they won’t realise that you, 

In a dark cloak, were feasting with me.


We rush into the autumn distances,

We listen to distant trumpets,

We measure night roads,

My cold heights…


The hours of triumph have passed—

My intoxicated lips,

In pre-death anxiety, kiss

Your cold lips.


Aleksandr Blok

3 October 1907

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