Marina Tsvetaeva: The table has been set for six ...


           “The table has been set for six ...”

One word. My lips can't help but fix
One word as I rehearse your verses.
“The table has been set for six...”
You've missed one more, the seventh person.

There is much sadness in all six.
Each face is the abyss of Heavens.
How could you at the feast like this
To have forgotten her, the seventh...

There is much sadness in your guests.
The crystalline carafe is idle.
You are in grief, they are depressed,
Especially the Unentitled.

There is much grief and little light.
Ah! – food and drink –  you'd do without.
How did you dare not get  it right?
How could you err on this account?

How dare you never figure that
The six (two brothers, then the pair:
You and your wife, plus mom and dad)
Are seven souls – for, I am there!

You've set the table for the six,
Yet, six away, the world won't wither.
Than be a dread midst living things,
I'd rather, as a ghost, come hither

To be next to your loved ones sat.
Oh, timid like a thief, tonight at
The non-existing dining set
I slip, the seventh, uninvited, --

Whoops! – dropped a glass! And all that could
Be shed, that craved for spilling out:
Salt from the eyes, blood from the wounds,
Poured downward to the under-ground.

And --- none is missing! none deceased!
The home awake, carafe enabled.
Like Death at an engagement feast,
I'm Life, at the remembrance table.

Son, brother, husband? –  not at all,
Nor  friend – yet, it is thee I thou,
Who set the table for six souls
And no seat for me allowed.

March 6, 1941  

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