First Meetings

by Arseny Tarkovsky

We made each moment of our trysts
A sacred epiphany.
We were alone in all the world.
Like a feather, but bolder,
You tripped down the staircase, leading
Me dizzy through the lilac
To your estates, through the mirror.

When night came I received a gift;
The altar gates did open,
And in dark, slowly aglow,
Your nakedness arched upwards.
And on awakening? “Be thou blessed”
I said, aware that my blessing
Was impertinent. While you slept,
From its stand the lilac stretched
To touch you with its universe
Of blue; and your eyelids touched,
Became calm, and your hand was warm.

Rivers pulsed within the crystal,
Mountains loomed and rivers roared.
And in your palm you held the orb
Of glass, and slept on a throne
And — God’s my witness — you were mine!

You awoke, and made such changes
To man’s common turn of phrase;
Speech gained such harmonious force
As throats allow, the word ‘thou’
Acquired the new meaning: ‘King.’

Everything on earth was touched.
Even simple things — bowls, jugs –
When hard strata of water
Stood between us, as on guard.

we were taken who knows where:
Cities built by miracles
Would melt like mirages,
Mint was crushed beneath our feet
And birds accompanied us,
And fish leaped in the river,
The skies parted as we watched . . . .

When fate followed our footsteps
Like a madman with a knife.

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