Poetry Friday: Russian Ballad

Russian MermaidI was in the mood for something Russian today and this is what I came up with. Somehow I’m never able to find anything happy when I go looking for Russian poetry. There must be some, but I always stop when I find these great story poems. They’re so awesome! I love this one to pieces! It’s not happy at all, though. I love it anyway. I hope you enjoy it too. It’s by the poet Mikhail Lermontov and was written in 1841.


One day swimming his horse was a prince by the sea
When he heard a voice cry: “Over here! Look at me!”

The steed started and snorted, but ‘twas nothing to him
He shook off a spray and continued to swim.

Said the voice: “I am born to the King of the Tide”
“Wilt thou one lordly night in my sweet arms abide?”

And behold! From the wake, there a hand did emerge
Reaching out for the bridle of silk on the surge.

A young, pretty head did the brine then reveal
With long braided hair draped in sea-grass of bright teal.

Two dark blue eyes burned with passion’s pure fire
Sea foam rolled on her cheeks like white pearls of desire.

Thought the prince: “For this moment I surely was made . . .”
And he deftly reached out to catch hold of a braid.

He caught her and held her with a warrior’s arm
She splashed and she struggled with panicked alarm

Heedless he dragged her up onto the shore
Then his shouts to his comrades did loudly outpour

“Fellows! Come and see! I am calling to you!”
“Look what I have fished out of bottomless blue!”

“What are you waiting for! Do not delay!”
“You’ve not seen such beauty in many a day!”

And then he turned back to look down on his prize
But alas! The fire was already leaving her eyes!

For there lying limp on the hot golden sand
Was her green tail, like a fish, out of place on the land

It was covered in scales like that of a snake
Already coiling and drying as the sun did it bake

Sweat streamed from her brow presaging her doom
And her eyes quickly darkened with ominous gloom

Her poor hands grew pale as she clutched at the sand
Her lips whispered something he could not understand

The prince walked away for he could not abide:
Would he ever forget the princess of the tide?

Aren’t the images great? But see what I meant about not being very happy? Oh well, like I said, I love it anyway! And there are more poems to love at the round-up over at Two Writing Teachers! Go check it out!

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