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This poem is taken from PN Review 263, Volume 48 Number 3, January - February 2022.

On Finding a Horseshoe
often translated as 'The Horseshoe Finder'
(Pindaric Fragment)
Osip Mandelstam
translated from the Russian by Sasha Dugdale

We look at the wood and we say:
     – There’s a shipwright’s forest, a forest of masts,
Pink pines,
Free from the mass of fronds to their very tips
They ought to be creaking in gales
Singly, stone pines,
In the fury of a treeless sky,
Resisting the salt heel of the wind,
a plumb line driven into the dancing deck,
And the seafarer
In his unquenchable thirst for the expanse
Hauls the geometer’s delicate instruments
through watery valleys,
Measuring, against the drag of the earth’s hold,
The shivering surface of the seas.

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