The Demon and the Angel

by Mikhail Strannik

Konstantin Makovsky, “Tamara and the Demon” (1889)

The Demon

Don’t wake up the demon, he is ruthless
In his hate as well as in his love.
He can jump into the chasm, know this,
He can fly and look at mortals from above.

He will move the world for his beloved,
In despair, he will tear the world apart.
He won’t say about it aloud—
If he loves, he loves with all his heart.

He himself believes in his existence
Only when she is somewhere near him.
If she disappears in the distance,
Even Hell becomes too cold and dim.

But one night, one morning or one day,
He will ask her, “Where is my love?”
She will shrug and turn her eyes away,
She will point to his wings and skies above.

December 4, 2014.


The Angel

Dear, sweet and wistful angel,
You are careless about
The deep love that’s so faithful,
So pure and so sudden.

You are losing the short season
Of your happiness and hope.
The fall rains are worth a listen,
But they force us all to mope.

Time flies fast like a strong eagle,
Youth is like a dying ember.
How blissful are the people
Who have something to remember!

You’ll be getting old, my angel…
Memories are not a cinder,
They’re the only thing you’re able
To keep warm in your last winter.

March 16, 2013.


The Farewell

In foggy nights, it’s sad to saunter
Among the leafless poplar trees.
Please, stay with me a little longer
Or leave your shadow at the least.

I would embrace your shadow gently,
I’d stroke it as if it’s you…
I’m gazing at your back intently.
The dying love won’t rise anew.

The strong wind blows away the sound
Of your footsteps. My soul dies.
It’s like the foliage on the ground—
It’s red with blood, it’s cold as ice.

March 22, 2013.

Translated from Russian by Maxim Sviridenkov.

About the author

Mikhail Strannik

Mikhail Strannik is the pen name of Mikhail Dymshyts, a Russian poet and fiction writer. Born in 1969, he graduated from the First Moscow State Medical University in 1995. His first book of poems On the edge of reality (Na grani realnosti) appeared in 2010. Since then he has published more than a dozen books of poetry and fiction for children and adults. Mikhail is a member of the Writers’ Union of Russia. For his literary work, he was awarded several Russian prizes, including Nekrasov Prize and Chekhov Prize. He lives in Moscow, Russia.

© The Evening Universe, 2022-2024. All Rights Reserved.