“She sings – the purling lyrics melt”

She sings – the purling lyrics melt
Like violet kisses on the lips;
One glance – within her eyes are felt
The welkin’s distant, swirling mists.

And if she walks, her every move –
Or breathes a word, its every sense –
Is full of feeling, freshness, love,
Is full of wondrous innocence.

By Mikhail Lermontov
translated, from the Russian, by Max Thompson

Max Thompson is a translator of Russian prose and poetry, principally of the 20th century, and is currently working on Chingiz Aitmatov’s novella “The White Steamship.” He is a 2nd-year MFA student in creative writing and translation at the University of Arkansas.

Mikhail Lermontov was a nineteenth-century Romantic whose work was largely modeled after that of Lord Byron; he is best-known for his writings about the Caucasus mountains.