The Five Women

an unfaithful translation of Leopold Epstein's Russian original


I love five women with a common thirst.
A gallant knight, I kneel before the first.
Desire the second. The third's a holy psalm.
The fourth I love amid a pain that sears,
And weighs me down with long life's s salty tears.
As for the fifth, I feel an easy calm.

I see five symbols with an inner sight.
The first is muse, and genius, and light. 
I need the second as a wound needs balm.
The third -- she means the trees, the sea, the sky.
The fourth is life itself, and symbols lie.
And with the fifth, I feel an easy calm.

	30 January 2017