List of Russian-language poets

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Pushkin Reciting His Poem Before Old Derzhavin, a painting by Ilya Repin, 1911

This is a list of authors who have written poetry in the Russian language.

For the plain text list, see Category:Russian poets.

See also: List of Russian-language writers, List of Russian-language novelists, List of Russian-language playwrights, List of Russian artists, List of Russian architects, List of Russian inventors, List of Russian explorers, Russian literature, Russian culture

Alphabetical list


Portrait Person Notable works Sample
100px Bella Akhmadulina
The String
The Garden
A Guiding Sound
Once in December
"Rain Flogs My Face..."

Rain flogs my face and collar-bones,
a thunderstorm roars over musts.
You thrust upon my flesh and soul,
like tempests upon ships do thrust.

I do not want, at all, to know,
what will befall to me the next –
would I be smashed against my woe,
or thrown into happiness.

In awe and gaiety elated,
like a ship, that's going tempests through,
I am not sorry that I've met you,
and not afraid to love you, too.
(Translation by Yevgeny Bonver)
100px Anna Akhmatova
The Rosary
Poem Without a Hero
"Like a White Stone"[1]

Like a white stone deep in a draw-well lying,
As hard and clear, a memory lies in me.
I cannot strive nor have I heart for striving:
It is such pain and yet such ecstasy.

It seems to me that someone looking closely
Into my eyes would see it, patent, pale.
And, seeing, would grow sadder and more thoughtful
Than one who listens to a bitter tale.

The ancient gods changed men to things, but left them
A consciousness that smoldered endlessly,
That splendid sorrows might endure forever.
And you are changed into a memory.
Margarita Aliger
The Year of Birth
Stones and Grass
100px Daniil Andreev
Russian Gods
The Iron Mystery
100px Innokenty Annensky
Quiet Songs
Cypress Box
Pavel Antokolsky
All We Who in His Name Hate![2]

Hate, be a faithful prop, and find
The words most biting and most fit,
So that filth brings no vertigo
To him who bends so close to it;

So that the honest artist spurns
The facile phrase, the weak excuse,
And is the first one to detect
The coward's lie, the traitor's truce;

So that the artist may be schooled
In probing, judging, and may sense
Just what a deposition means
And learn the tongue of evidence;

So that he trains his eye to catch
A wolfish trick, and warns us all
If silently the enemy
Slips past, or waits and hugs the wall,

Or if, again, with zealous mien
And upraised fist the foe votes "Aye"
Not caught red-handed yet, not known
And named as one who lives a lie;

Until our enemy must run
From verse as one who on the stair
Hears the police, then drops in dread
And cannot cover his despair.

100px Aleksey Apukhtin
Eduard Asadov
Nikolay Aseyev
Night Flute
Lera Auerbach
(born 1973)
100px Gennadiy Aygi


Portrait Person Notable works Sample
100px Eduard Bagritsky
100px Konstantin Balmont
Under the Northern Sky
Let's Be as the Sun
Centuries of Centuries Will Pass[1]

Long centuries of centuries will pass, unsighted
Milleniums as locusts in deathy clouds descend,
And in the muttering of centuries affrighted
The same enduring firmament will watch the end.
The dumb, dead firmament that God will not remember,
Who breathes Eternity behind the farther skies,
Beyond the fading of the last star's last slow ember,
Beyond the utter threshold words may scrutinize.
Forever cold, that starry desert, clouds out-topping,
Is flung forth, alien to the end, on space,
When tearing comet-fires will crumble with it, dropping
As dumbly burning tears from a despairing face.
100px Jurgis Baltrušaitis
The Pendulum[1]

When the dumb darkness most heavily clings,
Rhythmic and ruthless my pendulum swings.
Rustily creaking or whining dismay,
Urging each tarrying moment away.

Longing, it seems, for the days that are fled,
Down ancient stairways resounds someone's tread.
Heavy the footfall on flagstones unlit,
Lower and lower and down to the pit.

Praying, it seems, for a long-vanished shore,
Dumbly the Helmsman with slow stubborn oar
Brokenly rows me, morosely alone,
Into my harbor, afar and unknown.

Evil the Ferryman, darkly he pounds;
Farther and farther, more muffled resounds,
Hostile and hopeless, the long downward climb:
Cold, ineluctable footsteps of Time.
100px Evgeny Baratynsky
The Gypsy
The Last Poet
Be Mirthful Now[3]

Be mirthful now, for nothing stays,
Our good and evil both are brief.
Capricious Fate leads many ways,
Sometimes to joy, sometimes to grief,
And is no friend to constancy.
Listen, you whose lives are bright,
For the uncertain hours be
Winged for flight.

Do not repine, since nothing stays;
What matter if it chance at last
That unexpectedly our days
By cruel sorrow are o'ercast?
Upon this changeful earth of ours,
The gods from pain took half its stings
When alike to all the hours
They gave wings.
100px Ivan Barkov
obscene poems
Anna Barkova
Tatar Anguish
Agniya Barto
Mishka the Petty Thief
100px Alexander Bashlachev
100px Konstantin Batyushkov
100px Demyan Bedny
No One Knew[2]

(April 22, 1870)

It was a day like any other,
The same dull sky, the same drab street.
There was the usual angry pother
From the policeman on his beat.
Proud of his fine new miter's luster,
The archpriest strutted down the nave;
And the pub rocked with brawl and bluster,
Where scamps gulped down what fortune gave.
The market women buzzed and bickered
Like flies above the honeypots.
The burghers' wives bustled and dickered,
Eyeing the drapers' latest lots.
An awe-struck peasant stared and stuttered,
Regarding an official door
Where yellow rags of paper fluttered:
A dead ukase of months before.
The fireman ranged his tower, surveying
The roofs, like the chained bears one sees;
And soldiers shouldered arms, obeying
The drill sergeant's obscenities.
Slow carts in caravans went winding
Dockward, where floury stevedores moiled;
And, under convoy, in the blinding
Dust of the road, a student toiled,
And won some pity, thus forlorn,
From the drunk hand who poured his scorn
In curses on some pal and brother. . . .
Russia was aching with the thorn
And bearing her old cross, poor mother.
That day, a day like any other,
And not a soul knew that Lenin was born!

100px Andrey Bely
Gold in Azure
Christ Has Risen
The First Encounter

The shining and ponderous goblet
I empty: the earth drops below me,
All things sink away, I am treading
Cold space the vast void the dim ether.
But distant, in ancient space looming,
My glimmering goblet: the Sun.

I look far below me are lying
The rivers, the forests, the valleys,
Estranged in the vanishing distance.
A cloud, blowing fog on my eyelids,
Trails gossamer gold in its going.

The flickering landscape is burning
Its last: mid-day stars newly kindled
Look into my soul, sparkling: "Welcome,"
With radiance silently streaming:
"The end of long wanderings, brother,
Lies here, in your motherland, welcome!"

Slow hour upon hour in procession,
Slow centuries, smiling, pass onward.
In ancient space proudly I lift it,
My glimmering goblet: the Sun.
100px Olga Bergholz
100px Aleksandr Bestuzhev
Kabardinian song[4]

"On Kazbek the clouds are meeting,
Like the mountain eagle-flock;
Up to them, along the rock,
Dash the wild Uzdens retreating;
Onward faster, faster fleeting,
Routed by the Russian brood,
Foameth all their track with blood.

"Fast behind the regiments yelling,
Lance and bayonet raging hot,
And the seed of death their shot.
On the mail the sabre knelling,
Gallop, steed! for far thy dwelling,
See! they fall, but distant still
Is the forest of the hill!

"Russian shot our hearts is rending,
Falls the Mullah on his knee,
To the Lord of Light bows he,
To the Prophet he is bending;
Like a shaft his prayer ascending,
Upward flies to Allah's throne
Il-Allah! Oh, save thine own!

"Ah, despair! What crash like thunder!
Lo! a sign from heaven above!
Lo! the forest seems to move,
Crashes, murmurs, bursts asunder!
Lower, nearer, wonder! wonder!
Safe once more the Muslim bold
In their forest mountain-hold!"

100px Alexander Blok
"Into Crimson Dark"[1]

Into crimson dark thou goest,
Thy vast orbits mock the eye.
Small the echo that thou throwest,
Far, I hear thy footfalls die.

Art thou near? too far for greeting?
Lost in topless altitudes?
Shall I wait a sudden meeting
Where sonorous stillness broods?

In the solitude resounding
Distant footsteps echo free.
Is it thou who flamest, bounding
Circles of infinity?
Valeri Brainin-Passek
(born 1948)
Joseph Brodsky 1988.jpg Joseph Brodsky
100px Valery Bryusov
The Fierce Birds[1]

Kindling the air, fierce birds with feathers of fire,
Through the white portals of Paradise flamed like desire.
Virgin vistas reared, lit with quivering red,
And beyond seas were the trackless wanderers fled.

But on the pillars of marble, on the threshold were thrown
Crimson shadows incredible, sunk in the stone.
And, under the arch, in eternity's radiance hidden,
Angels exulted in fruits that are secret and sweet and forbidden.
100px Ivan Bunin
In An Empty House[1]

From the walls the paper's blue is vanished,
The daguerreotypes, the ikons banished.
Only there the deepened blue appears
Where these hid it, hanging through the years.

From the heart the memory is perished,
Perished all that long ago it cherished!
Those remain, of whom death hides the face,
Leaving their yet unforgotten trace.
100px Anna Bunina


Portrait Person Notable works Sample
100px Sasha Chorny
100px Korney Chukovsky
The Crocodile
The Giant Roach
100px Georgy Chulkov
Purple Autumn[1]

Purple Autumn unloosened her tresses and flung them
On the heavens and over the dew-heavy fields.
She came as a guest to the old, silent house,
Singeing the grasses with red;
Through the garden she moved,-
Up the balcony; scarcely she touched
The fragile old rails.
She pushed the door-panel softly,
Softly she entered the room,
Sprinkling the rugs with her sun-yellow dust,
Dropped a red leaf upon the piano. . .
Ever after that hour, we heard her unceasing, her tireless rustling,
Rustle and stir and soft whisper.
And our hands suddenly met

With no new words, new and forever false.
As though we had hung a wreath of red roses
On a black, wrought-iron door
Leading into a vault
Where lay the rotting body
Of a beloved dream.
Autumnal days were upon us,
Days of inscrutable longing;
We were treading the stairs
Of autumnal passion.
In my heart a wound,
Like the lamp of an ikon,
Burned and would not be quenched.
The cup of autumnal poison
We pressed to our lips.
By the serpentine garden path Autumn had led us
To crepuscular lilies
Upon the pale, sand-humbled pond.
And over the lilied waters and in the roses of evening,
We loved, more superstitiously.
And through the dark night,
On the languorous bed,
At the feet of my love,
I loved death anew.
The minutes rang tinkling like crystals
At the brink of an autumn grave:
Autumn and Death drunkenly clinked their glasses.
I pressed my thirsty lips
To the feet the ikon-lamp burnished,
I drank the cup of love.
Burned by the fires of sins,
Stretched on the cross of lusts,
Shamed, being needlessly faithless,
I drank the cup of love.
In the hour of ineffable dalliance
I sensed the whisper
Of autumn pain, of autumn passion.
And kisses like keen needles
Burned and pierced,
Weaving a wreath of thorns.


Portrait Person Notable works Sample
100px Denis Davydov
100px Anton Delvig
Ah, You Night...[4]

Ah, you night, you little night!
Ah, you night, you stormy night!
Why from early evening tide
Even to the midnight late
Twinkle not your little stars,
Shineth not your full-orbed moon?
You are veiled with darkling clouds!
'T is with you, I think, O night,
Even as with me, young man,
Villain grief has called on us!
When the dire one takes abode
Somewhere deep within the heart,
You forget the lasses fair,
Dances and obeisances;
You forget from evening tide
Even to the midnight late,
Singing songs, to take delight
In the chorus and the dance.
No, you sob, you weep aloud,
And, a sad and lonely lad,
You upon your coarse straw bed
Throw yourself as in the grave!
Andrey Dementyev
(born 1928)
100px Regina Derieva
100px Gavrila Derzhavin
The Stream of Time[5]

The stream of time, with onward sweep,
Bears off men's works, all human things,
And plunges o'er Oblivion's steep
Peoples and kingdoms with their kings.
If for a space amidst the swirl
The lyre or trumpet some sustain,
They're swept at last in ceaseless whirl,
And none escape Fate's common main.
100px Ivan Dmitriev
The Little Dove[6]

The little dove, with heart of sadness,
In silent pain sighs night and day;
What now can wake that heart to gladness?
His mate beloved is far away.

He coos no more with soft caresses,
No more is millet sought by him,
The dove his lonesome state distresses,
And tears his swimming eyeballs dim.

From twig to twig now skips the lover,
Filling the grove with accents kind,
On all sides roams the harmless rover,
Hoping his little friend to find.

Ah! vain that hope his grief is tasting,
Fate seems to scorn his faithful love.
And imperceptibly is wasting,
Wasting away, the little dove!

At length upon the grass he threw him,
Hid in his wing his beak and wept;
There ceased his sorrows to pursue him,
The little dove for ever slept.

His mate, now sad abroad and grieving,
Flies from a distant home again.
Sits by her friend, with bosom heaving,
And bids him wake with sorrowing pain.

She sighs, she weeps, her spirits languish.
Around and round the spot she goes;
Ah! charming Chloe 'slost in anguish,
Her friend wakes not from his repose!
Dobrolyubov.jpg Nikolay Dobrolyubov
Death's Jest[7]

What if I die? 'Twere little grief!
But one fear wrings my breast-
Perhaps Death, too, may play on me
A grim, insulting jest.

I fear that over my cold corpse
Hot tears may fall in showers;
That someone, with a foolish zeal,
May heap my bier with flowers;

That friends may crowd behind my hearse
With thoughts of grief sincere,
And when I lie beneath the mould,
Men's hearts may hold me dear;

That all which I so eagerly
And vainly used to crave
In life, may brightly smile on me
When I am in my grave!
Yevgeniy Dolmatovsky
100px Spiridon Drozhzhin
Yulia Drunina


Portrait Person Notable works Sample
100px Ilya Ehrenburg
The Tree[2]

The meek dew shone, the grass lay prostrate
As humbly as a slave will lie,
And veering from the roof the swallow
Had sought the wide and tender sky.

And you alone, great tree, remaining
There at your post, stood straight and still,
Lonely and stubborn as a soldier
Whose duty was to hold the hill.

And under fire you tossed and twisted,
As through your boughs the torment ran,
And when you met your mortal moment
You died as gravely as a man.


Portrait Person Notable works Sample
Fet by Repin.jpg Afanasy Fet
A Russian Scene[5]

Wondrous the picture,
How homelike to me!—
Distant plain whitening,
Full moon on the lea;
Light—in the heavens high,
And snow flashing bright;
Sledge in the distance
In its lonely flight.
100px Konstantin Fofanov
The Beggar[8]

There stood a beggar asking alms
By the cathedral gate,
His face bore torture marks of life—
Pale, tired, blind—like fate.

Thin, tired, pale and blind he begged
A crust of bread alone.
And some one pausing, placed within
His outstretched hand—a stone.

And even so I asked your love,
I brought my dreams, my life—the while
Unto my passion you replied
Only with your cold smile!


Portrait Person Notable works Sample
100px Cherubina de Gabriak
100px Alexander Galich
The Night Watch
When I Return
100px Aleksei Gastev
Mikhail Gerasimov
100px Zinaida Gippius
"I Seek For Rhythmic Whisperings"[1]

I seek for rhythmic whisperings
Where noises bandy
For life I listen wistfully
In footless banter.

I cast wide nets and tentative
In lakes of sorrow.
I go toward final tenderness
By pathways sordid.

I look for dewdrops glistering
In falsehood's gardens.
I save truth's globules glistening,
From dust-heaps garnered.

I fain would fathom fortitude
Through years of wormwood
And pierce the mortal fortalice,
Yet live, a worldling.

My cup, through ways impassable,
To bear, untainted;
By tenebrous bleak passages
To joy attaining.
Nikolay Glazkov
100px Fyodor Glinka

Wondrous city, ancient city,
Thou enfoldest in thy walls
Villages and smiling suburbs,
Churches, palaces and halls.

Thou art girt by grassy meadows,
Gay with gardens, rich in flowers;
Seven the hills are which thou crownest
With thy temples, with thy towers.

Thou unfoldest like a parchment
Written by a giant hand,
And beside thy little river
Thou art glorious now and grand.

Many are thine ancient churches
Towering like the northern pine;
Where can eye see streets so noble,
Mother Moscow, as are thine?

Capture Moscow's mighty Kremlin?
Who on earth would boast the power?
Who could rob the golden bonnet
From the slender Ivan tower?

Who could ever swing the Tsar-bell,
Or the Tsar-gun overthrow?
Reverence at the sacred gateway
Who could ever fail to show?

In thine awful hour of peril,
When thy haughty neck was bent,
All thy children, men of Russia,
Felt with thee the punishment.

White-walled city, them wast chastened
Like a martyr in the fire;
And thy river, boiling, hastened
Onward to escape the pyre.

Once a captive and dishonoured,
In thine embers thou didst lie!
Now arisen from thine ashes
Changeless, lift thy head on high!

Flourish through the countless ages,
Moscow ! many-towered town.
Thou art central heart of Russia,
Russia's glory, Russia's crown!

100px Nikolay Gnedich
The Fishers
100px Arseny Golenishchev-Kutuzov
100px Dmitry Gorchakov
100px Sergey Gorodetsky
100px Boris Golovin
(born 1955)
100px Aleksandr Griboedov
Woe from Wit
100px Apollon Grigoryev
Oleg Grigoryev
100px Isabella Grinevskaya
"The Mother" [9]
(World War 1)

O Son of mine, forgive these tears.
The tears that from my heart are wrung!
E'en birch-trees for their reft boughs weep,
The wild beasts for their young.

And, dearest, how should I not weep?
Nor dolorous grief o'er me prevail?
Where strength and calm endurance draw
To choke... a mother's wail?

In offering to our native land
We needs must of our own will part
With what is lovelier than life.
E'en though it break our heart.

And so I freely offer thee
To deadly battle with the foe.
Though dearer to me than my life.
Farewell! God with thee! Go!
100px Semyon Gudzenko
Ngumil.jpg Nikolay Gumilyov

With heaviness this wingless wind is cursed,
The sunset is a melon that has burst.

You ache to give the clouds a gentle shove,
They float so indolently up above.

Upon such languid evenings you will see
Coachmen whip up their horses savagely,

And fishers tear the waters with the oar,
And woodsmen batter at the oaks they floor. . .

While those who in their being must rehearse
The movement of the throbbing universe,

Who house within them, slumbering or astir,
Rhythms to come and all that ever were,

Write winged verses whose resistless sweep
Rouses the sluggard elements from sleep.

Guro selfport.jpg Elena Guro


Portrait Person Notable works Sample
100px Vera Inber
Mikhail Isakovsky
100px Georgy Ivanov
100px Vyacheslav Ivanov

Your soul, born deaf and blind, inhabits
Jungles of sunless reverie,
Where with the crash of trampled saplings
Wild droves of dark desires roam free.

A torch I kindled in the darkness
To lead you to my starry gate,
With seeds of light in shining handfuls
The furrows of your night to sate.

I stand amid the trackless stretches
And hail you in the wilderness;
But lost in dark and dreary caverns
My cry sinks silent, answerless.
100px Ryurik Ivnev


Portrait Person Notable works Sample
100px Gavril Kamenev
100px Antiochus Kantemir
100px Vasily Kapnist
On Julia's Death[6]

The evening darkness shrouds
The slumbering world in peace,
And from her throne of clouds
Shines Luna through the trees.
My thoughts in silence blend.
But gathered all to thee:
Thou moon! the mourner's friend,
Oh, come and mourn with me!

Upon her grave I bow,
The green grave where she lies:
Oh, hear my sorrows now,
And consecrate my sighs!
This is her ashes' bed,—
Here her cold relics sleep,—
Where I my tears shall shed.
While this torn heart can weep.

O Julia! Never rose
Had half the charms of thee!
My comfort, my repose,—
Oh, thou wert all to me I
But thou art gone, and I
Must bear life's load of clay,—
And pray, and long to die,
Though dying day by day.

But I must cease to sing.
My lyre all mute appears.
Alas! Its plaintive string
Is wetted with my tears.
Oh! Misery's song must end,—
My thoughts all fly to thee:
Thou moon! The mourner's friend,
Oh, come and mourn with me!
100px Rimma Kazakova
Dmitri Kedrin
100px Bakhyt Kenjeev
(born 1950)
Daniil Kharms.jpg Daniil Kharms
100px Ivan Khemnitser
The Lion's Council of State[6]

A lion held a court for state affairs:
Why? That is not your business, sir, 'twas theirs!
He called the elephants for counsellors—still
The council-board was incomplete;
And the king deemed it fit
With asses all the vacancies to fill.
Heaven help the state—for lo! the bench of asses
The bench of elephants by far surpasses.

He was a fool, the foresaid king, you'll say:
Better have kept those places vacant surely,
Than fill them up so poorly.
O no! that's not the royal way;
Things have been done for ages thus,— and we
Have a deep reverence for antiquity:
Naught worse, sir, than to be, or to appear
Wiser and better than our fathers were.
The list must be complete, even though you make it
Complete with asses; for the lion saw
Such had for ages been the law,—
He was no radical to break it!
"Besides," he said, "my elephants' good sense
Will soon my asses' ignorance diminish,
For wisdom has a mighty influence."
They made a pretty finish!
The asses' folly soon obtained the sway:
The elephants became as dull as they!
100px Velemir Khlebnikov
100px Vladislav Khodasevich
The Cork[2]

O cork that stoppered the strong iodine,
How rapidly you rotted quite away!
Thus is the body quietly consumed,
Burnt by the soul, unseen, day after day.

KhomyakovA AvtoportretABR.jpg Aleksey Khomyakov
100px Dmitry Khvostov
Semyon Kirsanov
Nikolay Klyuyev.jpg Nikolai Klyuev
A Northern Poem[1]

Sunset dreams on fir-tree cones,
Green the hedge, and brown the field;
Mossy rifts in weathered stones
Meekly vernal waters yield.

Oh, look up the wooded steep
God has touched it with his palm;
Piously wild berries weep,
listening to the grassy psalm.

And I feel no fleshly tie;
And my heart's a springing mead.
Come, ye pilgrims white and shy,
Peck the early wheaten seed.

Tender evening twilight searches
Cottage windows, gabled byres,
And the leaves of slender birches
Glimmer soft as wedding fires.
Ekaterina Kniazhnina
Pavel Kogan
100px Aleksey Koltsov
An Old Man's Song[1]

I shall saddle a horse,
A swift courser, he,
I shall fly, I shall rush,
As the hawk is keen,
Over fields, over seas,
To a distant land.
I shall overtake there
My young youth again.
I shall make myself spruce
Be a blade again,
I shall make a fine show
For the girls again.
But alas! no road leads
To the past we've left,
And the sun will not rise
For us in the west.
Nahum Korzhavin
(born 1925)
100px Ivan Kozlov
Vasili Krasovsky
Aleksey Kruchenykh
Ivan Krylov.jpg Ivan Krylov
A Swan, a Pike, and a Crab[5]

Whene'er companions don't agree,
They work without accord;
And naught but trouble doth result,
Although they all work hard.
One day a Swan, a Pike, a Crab,
Resolved a load to haul.
All three were harnessed to the cart,
And pulled together all.
But though they pulled with all their might,
That cart-load on the bank stuck tight.
The Swan pulled upwards to the skies,
The Crab did backwards crawl,
The Pike made for the water straight:
This proved no use at all.
Now, which of them was most to blame
Tis not for me to say,
But this I know—the load is there
Unto this very day.
Yuri Kublanovsky
(born 1947)
Kuhelbekker.jpg Wilhelm Küchelbecher
Anatoly Kudryavitsky.jpg Anatoly Kudryavitsky
(born 1954)
100px Nestor Kukolnik
100px Alexander Kushner
(born 1936)
100px Dmitry Kuzmin
(born 1969)
100px Mikhail Kuzmin
"Now Dry Thy Eyes"[1]

Now dry thy eyes, and shed no tears.
In heaven's straw-pale meadows veers
Aquarius, and earthward peers,
His emptied vessel overturning.
No storming snows, no clouds that creep
Across the sheer pure emerald steep,
Whence, thinly-drawn, a ray darts deep
As a keen lance with edges burning.


Portrait Person Notable works Sample
Vasily Lebedev-Kumach
Mikhail lermontov.jpg Mikhail Lermontov
The Song of the Merchant Kalashnikov
Death of the Poet
The Cup of Life[1]

We drink life's cup with thirsty lips,
Our eyes shut fast to fears;
About the golden rim there drips
Our staining blood, our tears.

But when the last swift hour comes on,
The light long hid is lit,
From startled eyes the band is gone,
We suffer and submit.

It is not our part to possess
The cup that golden gleamed.
We see its shallow emptiness:
We did not drink we dreamed.
100px Mirra Lokhvitskaya
And Moan of Winds...[10]

And moan of winds and whispered thoughts of gloom,
From life no joy is won . . .
Yet somewhere,—warmth, and ocean's muffled boom.
And lustre of the sun.
The blizzard wails, and in the heart it throws
A load of tears unshed.
Yet somewhere myrtle, verdant myrtle grows.
And stainless roses spread.
Life, passing by, in empty brooding delves,
Unmeaning, unbedight . . .
Yet somewhere, mirth and bliss will yield themselves,
And comeliness and light!
100px Yegor Letov

You know how to weep—you're going to die.
Someone's writing on walls—he's going to die.
She has beautiful eyes—she's going to die.
It is time to relax—we're going to die.

Someone's writing on walls—he's going to die.
It smells of spring showers—someone just died.
They have something to say—they're going to die.
Someone's quietly laughing—I'm going to die.

I dared to speak the Word—I'm going to die.
I dared to sing "fuck!" (*) -- someone just died.
Someone's watching the Sun—he's almost dead.
Someone's watching my step—he's ready to die.

This is optimism.
Our optimism.
New optimism.

100px Mikhail Lomonosov
Vladimir Lugovskoy


Portrait Person Notable works Sample
Osip Mandelstam Russian writer.jpg Osip Mandelstam
Stalin Epigram "The Air Strikes Chill"[2]

The air strikes chill. Although transparent spring
Has clothed Petropolis in pale green down,
The Neva's waves are faintly sickening
As if they were Medusa's coiling crown.
On the embankment of our northern stream
The fireflies of hurrying motors gleam.
Steel dragonflies and beetles flit and whirr,
And stars are pins of gold whose glitter pricks,
But stars can never mortally transfix
The heavy emerald of the sea water.

100px Anatoly Marienhof
"Savage, Nomad Hordes"[1]

Savage, nomad hordes
Of Asia
Poured fire out of the vats!
Razin's execution is avenged,
And Pugachov's pain
Whose beard was torn away.
Have broken
The scruff of the earth,
Cold with centuries,
And the supernal sky, like a stocking
With a hole in its heel
Has been taken out of the laundry-trough
Wholly clean.
100px Maria Markova
(born 1982)
100px Samuil Marshak
100px Vladimir Mayakovsky
A Cloud in Trousers
Backbone Flute
Moonlit Night[2]

(A Landscape)

There will be a moon.
Already a bit of it
And now a full moon is hanging in the air.
It must be that God is fishing about
with a marvelous
silver spoon
in the star chowder.

Apollon Maykov.jpg Apollon Maykov
The Alpine Glacier[5]

Dank the darkness on the cliff-side;
Faintly outlined from below,
In their modest maiden gladness,
Glaciers in the dawn's blush glow.

What new life upon me blowing,
Breathes from yonder snowy height,
From that depth of limpid turquoise
Flashing in the morning light?

There, I know, dread Terror dwelleth.
Track of man there is not there;
Yet my heart in answer swelleth
To the challenge, "Come thou here!"
100px Dmitriy Merezhkovsky
The Curse of Love[1]

With heavy anguish, hopeless straining,
The bonds of love I would remove.
Oh, to be loosed from their enchaining!
Oh, freedom, only not to love!

The soul that shame and fear are scourging
Crawls through a mist of dust and blood.
From dust, great God, my spirit purging,
Oh, spare me from love's bitter flood!

Is pity's wall alone unshaken?
I pray to God, I cry in vain,
More weary, by all hope forsaken;
Resistless love grows great again.

There is no freedom, unforgiven,
We live as slaves, by life consumed;
We perish, tortured, bound and driven,
Promised to death, and to love doomed.
100px Aleksey Merzlyakov
Arvo Mets
100px Lev Mei
Alexander Mezhirov
100px Sergey Mikhalkov
100px Nikolai Minsky

She lies, opening her teats, strong, swollen, wide,
And at her breasts, their equal gift bestowing,
Mad Nero and meek Buddha clutch, unknowing,
As clinging twins who suckle side by side.
She holds two vessels, whence, forever flowing,
The streams of Life and Death serenely glide.
She breathes and wreaths of stars are lit, and bide,
She breathes anew: they fly like sere leaves blowing.

She looks ahead with cold unseeing eyes;
She cares not though she bear or cause to perish;
The children whom she nurtures she will cherish,
But when she weans them, every claim denies.
Evil and Good gather them in thereafter
And play the cosmic game with idle laughter.
100px Yunna Morits
(born 1937)


Portrait Person Notable works Sample
100px Vladimir Nabokov
100px Semyon Nadson
"Pity the Stately Cypress Trees"[5]

Pity the stately cypress trees;
How freshly green they spring!
Ah! why amidst their branches, child,
Have you put up your swing?
Break not a single fragrant bough.
Oh, take thy swing away
To heights where thick acacias bloom;
Mid dusty olives play!
Thence you can see the Ocean,
And, as your swing ascends,
Through greening boughs a sunny glimpse
The sea in laughter sends
Of white sails in the distance dim,
Of white gulls far away,
Of white flakes foaming on the sands,
A fringe of snowy spray.
100px Vladimir Narbut
Sergey Narovchatov
100px Nikolay Nekrasov
The Russian Soldier[5]

Then up there comes a veteran,
With medals on his breast;
He scarcely lives, but yet contrives
To drink with all the rest.
"A lucky man am I," he cries,
And thus to prove the fact he tries.
"In what consists of a soldier's luck?
Pray, listen while I tell.
In twenty fights, or more, I've been,
And yet I never fell.
And, what is more, in peaceful times
Full meal I never knew;
Yet, all the same, I have contrived
Not to give Death his due.
Again, for sins both great and small,
Full many a time they've me
With canes unmercifully flogged,
Yet I'm alive, you see!"
100px Ivan Savvich Nikitin

Though blameless thy living
As Anchorite's fate,
Yet gossip will find thee
Or early or late.

Through keyhole he enters
And stands at thy side,
Doors of wood nor of stone
Against him provide.

He pulls the alarm bell
At slightest excuse-
And down to thy grave
Will pursue with abuse.

Self defence nothing boots thee,
Thy flight he will worst-
To earth he will tread thee,
O Gossip be cursed!


Portrait Person Notable works Sample
100px Alexander Odoevsky
The Ball
100px Nikolay Ogarev
The Village Watchman[4]

The night is dark, and clouds abound,
Appears the white snow everywhere;
The crackling frost pervades the ground,
And frigid is the atmosphere.

On either side the long, broad street
The peasants' cottages are seen;
The solitary watchman's feet
Are heard, as he moves on between.

Cold is he now; the hollow gale
Fills with violent blast the air;
The frost has touched his visage pale,
And whitened all his beard and hair.

Joy has fled from his gloomy brow,
He finds it hard to be alone;
Through the dark night, and blinding snow,
His song resounds with mournful tone.

By moonless nights he paces late,
Watching until the morn comes round;
His hammer upon the iron plate
Gives out a dreary, dismal sound.

And swaying ever to and fro,
The board prolongs its dreadful moan;
The heart dies down with feelings low,
And sorrow weighs it, lorn and lone.
Odoevceva heinike.jpg Irina Odoyevtseva
100px Bulat Okudzhava
100px Nikolay Oleynikov
The Carp
The Beetle
The Carp (excerpt)[11]

Frying fish,
Little carp,
Where is your smile,
The one you had yesterday?


Portrait Person Notable works Sample
100px Liodor Palmin
Valentin Parnakh
100px Sophia Parnok
Boris Pasternak cropped.jpg Boris Pasternak
"The Drowsy Garden"[2]

The drowsy garden scatters insects
Bronze as the ash from braziers blown.
Level with me and with my candle,
Hang flowering worlds, their leaves full-grown.

As into some unheard-of dogma
I move across into this night,
Where a worn poplar age has grizzled
Screens the moon's strip of fallow light,

Where the pond lies, an open secret,
Where apple bloom is surf and sigh,
And where the garden, a lake dwelling,
Holds out in front of it the sky.

100px Karolina Pavlova
Vladimir Pecherin.jpg Vladimir Pecherin
Mariya Petrovykh
100px Aleksey Plescheev

Ah! could I but utter in song
All the anguish which robs me of peace,
Thy sorrow of soul would be stilled,
Thy murmur of doubting would cease!
I would breathe forth my life, my beloved.
As I told all my pain for thy sake;
And, bursting in passionate song.
My heart in its fulness would break.
100px Pyotr Pletnyov
Elizaveta Polonskaya
100px Yakov Polonsky
A Gipsy Song[8]

Pile of embers in the darkness,
Sparks expire as they fly
Night conceals us from the passing,
On the bridge we'll say good-by!

At the parting, shawl of crimson
Cross my shoulders thou shalt lace,
At an end the days swift passing,
Met within this shaded place.

In the morning, with first splendour.
All my life compelled to rove
I shall leave with other gipsies
Seeking happiness and love.

How does fate foretell my future?
Who, to-morrow by my side,
O'er my heart will loose with kisses
Knots by thy dear hand fast tied?

Flash of embers in the darkness,
Sparks expire as they fly
Night conceals us from the passing,
On the bridge we'll kiss good-by!
100px Nikolay Popovsky
Vasili Popugaev
(1778 or 1779 – c. 1816)
Alexander Prokofyev
100px Kozma Prutkov
Kiprensky Pushkin.jpg Alexander Pushkin
Eugene Onegin

The Bronze Horseman

Boris Godunov (play)'

From Eugene Onegin[8]

Lensky and Olga

Sometimes he read aloud with Olga
A latter day romance discreet,
Whose author truly painted nature,
With cunning plot, insight complete;
Oft he passed over a few pages,
Too bald or tasteless in their art
And coloring, began on further,
Not to disturb the maiden heart.
Again, they sat for hours together,
With but a chess board to divide
She with her arms propped on the table,
Deep pondering, puzzled to decide
Till Lensky from his inward storm
Captured her castle with his pawn!
100px Vasily Pushkin


Portrait Person Notable works Sample
100px Vladimir Raevsky
Evstafiev-Irina Ratushinskaya.jpg Irina Ratushinskaya
(born 1954)
100px Yevgeny Rein
(born 1935)
100px Yevdokiya Rostopchina
100px Konstantin Romanov (K.R.)
Love's Reason Why[5]

For beauty love me not!
Nor love for gold!
For beauty—love the Day—
For wealth—love coinage cold!

Nor love me for my youth!
For Youth—love spring!
But love—because to you
With constant love I cling.
100px Vsevolod Rozhdestvensky
Robert Rozhdestvensky
Nikolay Rubtsov
100px Kondraty Ryleyev


Portrait Person Notable works Sample
David Samoylov
100px Genrikh Sapgir
100px Mikhail Savoyarov
Olga Sedakova
Ilya Selvinsky
100px Igor Severyanin
A Russian Song[1]

Lace and roses in the forest morning shine,
Shrewdly the small spider climbs his cobweb line.

Dews are diamonding and blooming faery-bright.
What a golden air ! What beauty ! Oh, what light !

It is good to wander through the dawn-shot rye,
Good to see a bird, a toad, a dragon-fly;

Hear the sleepy crowing of the noisy cock,
And to laugh at echo, and to hear her mock.

Ah, I love in vain my morning voice to hurl,
Ah, off in the birches, but to glimpse a girl,

Glimpse, and leaning on the tangled
fence, to chase
Dawn's unwilling shadows from her morning face.

Ah, to wake her from her half-surrendered sleep,
Tell her of my new-sprung dreams, that lift and leap,

Hug her trembling breasts that press against my heart,
Stir the morning in her, hear its pulses start.
Varlam Shalamov
100px Tatiana Shchepkina-Kupernik
Stepan Shchipachev

The sunflower has nowhere
to shelter from the rain
his feet in mud, the water
between the beds won't drain.
Capped, carroty and freckled,
you see the chap remain
fast in the bed why should he
run? He likes the rain.

Vadim Shefner
100px Nikolay Sherbina

Do you remember, dear-or care?
When I was but a little thing,
Among the garden-blossoms, there,
I brushed a bee and took its sting:
My finger pained me. Quick and hot,
My tears ran like a rivulet.
You laid upon the aching spot
A lump of brown earth, cool and wet…
And, all at once, there was no pain!
And you looked on, with your kind eyes,
To see me at my sport, again,
Of chasing dappled butterflies.
That time is long and long since flown;
But I received a later dart…
Oh, my dear friend, to you I own,
It is Love's shaft within my heart!
So be it!-now I only crave
The perfect cure that with you lies-
A little cool earth from your grave
Above this heart, upon these eyes.
100px Vadim Shershenevich
100px Stepan Shevyryov
100px Maria Shkapskaya
No Dream
100px Gennady Shpalikov
100px Konstantin Simonov
Wait for Me Wait For Me (1941)[2]

Just wait for me and I'll return.
But wait, oh, wait with all your might. . .
Wait when your heart is saddened by
The pouring rains, the sallow light.
Wait when the wind heaps up the snow,
Wait when the air is dry and hot.
Wait when the rest no longer wait
For those whom they too soon forgot.
Wait when the letters fail to come,
Wait on, through dread and through despair,
When those who wait together end
Their waiting and turn otherwhere.

Just wait for me and I'll return.
And show no kindliness to such
As know by heart that it is time
To cease from grieving overmuch.
Let both my mother and my son
Believe me lost, let friends who tire
Of waiting longer sit them down
Barren of hope beside the fire,
And let them toast my memory
In bitter wine as friends will do.
Wait while they drink, be waiting still,
Nor lift the glass they pour for you.

Just wait for me and Til return,
To spite all deaths that men can die.
Let those who gave up waiting say:
"It was his luck"-that is a lie.
It is not theirs to understand
Who gave up waiting, wearily.
How under fire I was safe,
Since, waiting, you protected me.
And none but you and I will know
How I escaped the thrust of fate-
Simply because, better than all
The others, you knew how to wait.

100px Stepan Skitalets
Recited at a charity event, 1902.[13]

A shadow falls upon your heads,
You will not like my song;
The emptiness inside you spreads-
It will not spread for long.

Of you, the world has had enough,
The years will soon be free
Of you, and made of finer stuff-
Life waits for men like me.
100px Konstantin Sluchevsky
Boris Slutsky
100px Fyodor Sologub
The Amphora[1]

In a gay jar upon his shoulder
The slave morosely carries wine.
His road is rough with bog and boulder,
And in the sky no starlights shine.
Into the dark with stabbing glances
He peers, his careful steps are slow,
Lest on his breast as he advances
The staining wine should overflow.

I bear my amphora of sorrow,
Long brimming with the wine it hides;
There poison for each waiting morrow
Ferments within the painted sides.
I follow secret ways and hidden
To guard the evil vessel, lest
A careless hand should pour unbidden
Its bitterness upon my breast.
Vladimir Soloukhin
Vladimir-Solovyov.jpg Vladimir Solovyov
"Below the Sultry Storm"[1]

Below the sultry storm that seemed to lower,
An alien force, again I heard the call
Of my mysterious mate: the prisoned power
Of old dreams flared and flickered in its fall.

And with a cry of horror and of dolor-
As of an eagle in an iron vise-
My spirit shook its cage in quivering choler,
And tore the net, and issued to the skies.

And up behind the clouds, unswerving, bearing,-
Before the miracles a flaming sea-
Within the shining sanctum briefly flaring,
It vanished into white infinity.
Sumarokov by A.Losenko.jpg Alexander Sumarokov
100px Ivan Surikov
Mikhail Svetlov


Portrait Person Notable works Sample
Yelizaveta Tarakhovskaya
100px Arseny Tarkovsky
100px Nikolay Tikhonov
Our Rooms[2]

Our rooms are turned to rolling wagons
With wheels that creak on roads of air;
And down below, the moony water
Is playing gently with green hair.

We travel over crystal bridges,
Across the earth, across the sky.
Its red cheek pressed against our windows,
The sun sings out as we roll by.

And every heart's a summer beehive
Blazing with a dark honeyed gleam,
As though we were the lucky first ones
To bend our heads above the stream.

We do not know who leads us onward,
What end our hurrying wheels will find,
But, like a bird set free, the spirit
Darts on a wing that rips the wind.

A.K.Tolstoy by Repin.jpg Aleksey Tolstoy
My Little Almond Tree[1]

My little almond tree
Is gay with gleaming bloom,
My heart unwillingly
Puts forth its buds of gloom.

The bloom will leave the tree,
The fruit, unbidden, grow.
And the green boughs will be
By bitter loads brought low.
100px Vasily Trediakovsky
Tsvetaeva.jpg Marina Tsvetaeva
"No Longer Now"[2]

No longer now the same god-given bounties
Where now no longer the same waters glide.
Then fly, and hasten, doves of Aphrodite,
Through the great gates that sunset has swung wide.

And I on the chill sands shall lie, receding
Into the dimness of unreckoned days . . .
Like the shed skin the snake is coldly eyeing,
My youth, outgrown, has shrunk under my gaze.

Turgenev by Repin.jpg Ivan Turgenev
Veronika Tushnova
Memory of the Heart
100px Aleksandr Tvardovsky
The Starling[2]

On the porch a trooper marvels
At a starling: "Take my word,
There is something to that fellow,
Yes, a starling's quite a bird.

"In this scorched and blistered garden
That's attached to our new base,
All day long the chap is busy,
Keeps at work about the place;

"He's rebuilding, he's repairing.
Just as if to signify:
War or no war, still the thing is
To increase and multiply."

Fyodor Tyutchev.jpg Fyodor Tyutchev

Be silent, hidden, and conceal
Whate'er you dream, whate'er you feel.
Oh, let your visions rise and die
Within your heart's unfathomed sky,
Like stars that take night's darkened route.
Admire and scan them and be mute.

The heart was born dumb; who can sense
Its tremors, recondite and tense?
And who can hear its silent cry?
A thought when spoken is a lie.
Uncovered springs men will pollute,
Drink hidden waters, and be mute.

Your art shall inner living be.
The world within your fantasy
A kingdom is that waits its Saul.
The outer din shall still its call,
Day's glare its secret suns confute.
Oh, quaff its singing, and be mute.


Portrait Person Notable works Sample
Vladimir Uflyand
Joseph Utkin
The Story About Ginger Motele
Mr. Inspector
Rabbi Isaiah and Commissar Bloch


Portrait Person Notable works Sample
100px Konstantin Vaginov
100px Dmitry Venevitinov
100px Igor Vishnevetsky
(born 1964)
100px Dmitry Vodennikov
(born 1968)
100px Maksimilian Voloshin

Whose the flying hands, about me shedding
Fire, and leading me on passionate ways?
No sonorous stones my feet are treading,
But where vatic waters fill the days.
Piercing through the spirit, sharp pilasters
Rise, and candle sting the dark like bees.
Oh, the hearts that bloom like crimson asters,
Petalled with gold-bladed ecstasies.
Now the evening on the temple flinging
Patterned, carven crimson, shines and mourns.
Oh, the pale brow to the altar clinging,
Stung anew with stinging scarlet thorns!
The whole soul, high vaults and portals glowing,
Fear like incense swathes with dim blue bands:
Ah, I know you, sacred corals, growing
On the pierced palms of these outstretched hands.
Andrey Voznesensky
100px Alexander Vvedensky
100px Pyotr Vyazemsky

"Ah, Spring, sweet Spring, chief pride of Nature!"
The air is foul, the ground is sludge;
Men curse the mud when they go walking,
And plunged in muck, a horse can't budge.

The cab breaks down, so does the carriage;
Season of colds in chest and nose,
To you, fair Spring, is reverence tendered
By cartwrights and by medicos.

100px Vladimir Vysotsky


Portrait Person Notable works Sample
100px Pyotr Yakubovich
The Ninth Wave[14]

Not for every plashing wavelet
Watches keen the helmsman's eye;
He awaits the last huge roller,
When the ninth wave surges high.

But until that last strong roller
Swells with deep, decisive roar,
We must meet the strife and effort
Of the waves that go before.

Even though we scarce perceive them,
Sinking vanquished to their grave,
Wait, O brethren, wait with courage
For the ninth, the conqu'ring wave!
Alexander Yashin
100px Nikolay Yazykov
The Sailor[4]

Cruel is our lonely ocean,
Roaring always day and night;
Buried 'neath its wild commotion
Many a wreck lies, far from sight.

Courage, comrades! I, confiding,
To the free winds give my barque;
Forth it hastens, swiftly riding
O'er the billows grim and dark.

Thick the clouds fly o'er the heaven,
Fierce the gale grows, black the waves;
Hither, thither we are driven,
While the waking whirlwind raves.

Courage, comrades ! Peals the thunder,
High the watery heaps arise,
Yawning gulfs now draw us under,
Now we 're lifted to the skies.

Yet behold, our ship is nearing
Through the storm the wished-for land;
See, the vaults of heaven are clearing,
See, the port is near at hand.

Thither but brave hearts and ready
Will the billows speed along!
Courage, comrades! straight and steady
Flies our vessel, stanch and strong.
100px Pyotr Yershov
The Humpbacked Horse
Sergey Yesenin.jpg Sergey Yesenin
"Hopes Painted By The Autumn Cold"[1]

Hopes, painted by the autumn cold, are shining,
My steady horse plods on, like quiet fate,
His moist dun lip is catching at the lining
When the coat, flapping, flutters and falls straight.

On a far road the unseen traces, leading
Neither to rest nor battle, lure and fade;
The golden heel of day will flash, receding,
And labors in the chest of years be laid.
Evtushenko.jpg Yevgeny Yevtushenko
(born 1933)


Portrait Person Notable works Sample
Nikolay Zabolotsky
Boris Zakhoder
100px Yulia Zhadovskaya
The Contrast[15]

Dear, you will soon forget me,
You I shall ne'er forget,
You'll find new loves for old ones,
For me love's sun is set.

New faces soon will greet you,
You'll choose yourself new friends,
New thoughts you'll get and haply
New joy to make amends:

While I in silent sorrow
Life's joyless way shall go,
And how I love and suffer

Only the grave will know.

100px Aleksey Zhemchuzhnikov
Zhukovsky 1815.jpg Vasily Zhukovsky
To a Floweret[3]

Floweret, faded and forsaken,
Fragile beauty of the lea,
Autumn's cruel hand hath taken
All thy summer charms from thee.

Heigho! that the years must bring
This same destiny to all;
One by one our joys take wing,
One by one your petals fall.

So each evening rings the knell
Of some dream or rapture perished,
And the fleeting hours dispel
Each some vision fondly cherished.

Life's illusions lie unmasked,
And the star of hope burns paler.
Has not some sage long since asked:
Men or blossoms which are frailer?


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 Modern Russian Poetry, An Anthology, chosen and translated by Babette Deutsch and Avrahm Yarmolinsky, Harcourt, Brace and Co, NY, 1921.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 A Treasury of Russian Verse, Yarmolinsky, (free pdf from
  3. 3.0 3.1 Poetry and Progress in Russia, Rosa Newmarch, John Lane Company, NY, 1907.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Anthology of Russian Literature, Part 2, Leo Wiener, G.P. Putnam's Sons, Ny, 1903.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Russian Songs and Lyrics, J. Pollen, East and West LTD, London,1916.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Anthology of Russian Literature, Part 1, G. P. Putnam's Sons, NY, 1903.
  7. Songs of Russia, Alice Blackwell, Published by the Author, Chicago, 1906.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Russian Lyrics, Martha Bianchi, Duffield and Company, NY, 1910.
  9. The Soul of Russia, MacMillan, London, 1916.
  10. Modern Russian Poetry, P. Selver, E.P. Dutton, NY, 1917.
  11. Ivanov, M. (2007). Survival Russian. Russican Information Services, Inc.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. The Russian Review, Vol 1, No 3, The Russian Review Publishing Company, NY, April 1916.
  13. from A Writer Remembers, N. Teleshov, Hutchinson Co, NY, Undated.
  14. The Russian Review, Vol 1, No 2, The Russian Review Publishing Company, NY, March 1916.
  15. Holy Russia and Other Poems, Oxford University Press, 1918.

See also

de:Liste russischsprachiger Dichter