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Osip Mandelstam

Todd Powelson
“The White Orchard” by Vincent Van Gogh

I keep thinking about the poem below, written by Osip Mandelstram. I can’t seem to shake it’s imagery, and certain lines float up into my mind without warning.

Mandelstein was condemned and hunted by Joseph Stalin because he recited poetry that was critical of the Communist state. It isn’t certain, but this may have been the very last thing that Mandelstein composed. If not his last poem, it was one of the final two or three.

And I Was Alive

by Osip Mandelstam (4 May 1937)

And I was alive in the blizzard of the blossoming pear,
Myself I stood in the storm of the bird-cherry tree.
It was all leaflife and starshower, unerring, self-shattering power,
And it was all aimed at me.

What is this dire delight flowering fleeing always earth?
What is being? What is truth?

Blossoms rupture and rapture the air,
All hover and hammer,
Time intensified and time intolerable, sweetness raveling rot.
It is now. It is not.


Todd Powelson
Todd Powelson works as a Graphic Designer, Illustrator, and Visual Artist.

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