Verse > Anthologies > Deutsch and Yarmolinsky, comps. > Modern Russian Poetry
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Deutsch and Yarmolinsky, comps.  Modern Russian Poetry.  1921.
 
“When, Heaving on the Stormy Waters”
By Fyodor Sologub (Pseudonym of Fyodor Teternikov) (b. 1863)
 
WHEN, heaving on the stormy waters,
I felt my ship begin to sink,
I prayed, “Oh, Father Satan, save me,
Forgive me at death’s utter brink!
 
“If you will save my soul embittered        5
From perishing before its hour,
The days to come, the nights that follow
I vow to vice, I pledge to power.”
 
The Devil forthwith snatched and flung me
Into a boat; the sides were frail,        10
But on the bench the oars were lying
And in the bow an old gray sail.
 
And landward once again I carried
My outcast soul, bereft of kin,
Upon its sickly vicious sojourn        15
My body and its gift of sin.
 
And I am faithful, Father Satan,
Unto my evil hour’s vow,
When from my drowning ship you saved me
And when I prayed you guide the prow.        20
 
To you descend my praises, Father,
No day from bitter blame exempt.
O’er worlds my blasphemy shall tower;
And I shall tempt—and I shall tempt.
 
 
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