About the Author

From the book Kliazma and Yauza
From the book The Wild Rose
From the book Tristan and Isolde  
From the book Old Songs
From the book Gates. Windows. Arches
From the book Stanzas in the Manner of Alexander Pope
From the book Stellae and Inscriptions
From the book The Iambic Verses
The Chinese Travelogue
From An Unfinished Book
From the book The Evening Song
From the book Elegies
From the book The Beginning of a Book
From the book Tristan and Isolde
The Mill Hums
O happiness, you are the plainest of things
a simple crandle
you are a women crib
a fir-tree rocking
and if we fall
you will be our end.

Shining for me to this day,
   as it does for anyone on this earth,
a radiant seam under a closed door.

O, life amounts to nothing
O, the mind hurts as much
   as the heart.
A child weeps in the distance
and the mill hums.
Now a rough garment
   of sound
and a fine bread dust.
The grain cries like a bird
beneath the hefty millstones.

And a solitary voice
   alone, simple
talks with Vesper
   the first star.

– O Lord my God
forgive me, forgive
and if you can
release my heart
   so it might be
forgotten and good-for-nothing
required by nobody
descending a great staircase
into the expansive dark
   so it discard life, like a golden sphere
invisible in the mind's eye.

A radiant seam beneath a closed door
which shines to this day, where one can disappear.

Tell me, my happiness
why live in the world?
To hear a child crying
and serve the stars.

And the stars themselves gaze down
from their caves or abysses:
   it must be the Tsar's son
who also waits, and is alone.

He, like them, is alone.

And some strange power
like water under ice
stares through the spectral figures
which look down upon us

and the gaze, solitary
   and plain
of this first and purest star.
Gregory O'Brien and Jacob Edmond
 The Mill Hums
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