translated from the Russian by Seamus Heaney

We were all there in the boat;
Some of us tightening sail,
Some at the heave and haul
Of the oars, vessel and load
Deep surging, our passage silent,
The helmsman buoyed at the helm.
And I, taking all for granted,
Sang to the sailors.
                               A wind
Struck then, a boiling maelstrom.
Helmsman and sailors perished.
Only I, still singing, washed
Ashore by the swell, sing on,
A mystery to myself,
Safe and sound on a rock-shelf
Where my clothes dry in the sun.

From The Translations of Seamus Heaney (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2022) by Seamus Heaney. Translated from the Russian by Seamus Heaney. Copyright © 2022 by The Estate of Seamus Heaney. Used with the permission of the publisher.