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Futile Desire

Oh, that my arms were pinions,  
Free as a raven I’d soar.
My course I’d set west and pause not for rest,
‘til I’d  reached your fair, distant shore.
Heather-clad bens and mist-shrouded glens,
Scenes, my heart to appease,
In a land from which the echoes of home,
Drift aloft on a westerly breeze.

Alas, ‘tis but a reverie.
Just a vision to taunt my mind;
My feet may as well be severed,
My eyes might as well be blind.

Yet, in my hand is a weapon,
Mightier by far than the sword,
Inherent, my poetical prowess,
Immortal - the written word.

Sadly, not so am I,
As respond I must to the call.
I flit o’er surging oceans,
      Destination, my Father’s hall.
No mighty bens, no lochs or glens,
No joyous throng awaits me here,
Yet muted, gracious folk abound;
Departed friends I once held dear.

I take my place among the souls,
And await my fate’s decree.
All earthly ties unbound,
My spirit now set free.  

Those restless limbs are forever still.  
My heavy heart no longer sighs,
As westward I fly like a bird on the wing,
In eternal freedom through infinite skies.

© Elizabeth Burton  2014

In tribute to, and commemoration of, Russia’s great poet
Mikhail Yuryevitch Lermontov 1814 - 1841

Two poems by Mikhail Lermontov

Ossian’s Grave

Beneath a shroud of mist,
Below a heaven of storms,
Among the hills of my Scotland,
Is the grave of Ossian.
To her, flies my weary soul,
To breathe its native gale
And from that forgotten grave,
Shall rise to tell the tale.



O to be a raven of the plain,
Soaring aloft beyond all earthly pain,
On silent wing, in graceful flight,
Free from care and mortal plight.

Westward! Ever westward I’d make haste,
Where ancient castles lie in waste.
Where beside a ruin, ‘neath a mist shrouded sky,
Discarded bones, bleached and brittle, lie.
Where shield and sword, and family crest,
On crumbling walls, now superfluous, rest.

I would wheel o’er those relics of old,
The clock rewinding as tales unfold.
The minstrel’s song; harmonious harp,
The Bards, their caveats they carp,
And awake me from my reverie;
Alas, my desire is not to be.

Dejected! Disheartened! Oh cruel fate!
My restless heart, I cannot sate.
In alien climes I sweat and toil,
Beyond my reach, the native soil;
Between us lies the stormy main,
O to be a raven of the plain.  


My interpretation of the English translations from Russian – © Elizabeth Burton 2014