The poetry of St Petersburg’s golden autumn, in pictures. “Tomorrow will be shamelessly naked, by the severe husband November”

(Photo credit: Von Yao)

Let’s journey through the thousand and one colours of St Petersburg’s short but spectacular autumn through the lens of local photographer, Von Yao, matched with selected autumn themed poems from Russian poets.


[Excerpt] Autumn by Alexander Pushkin

When autumn comes, I bloom anew;
The Russian frost does wonders for my health;
Anew I fall in love with life’s routine:
Betimes I’m soothed by dreams, betimes by hunger caught;
The blood flows free and easy in my heart,
Abrim with passion; once again, I’m happy, young,
I’m full of life – such is my organism
(Excuse me for this awful prosaism)


Summer thunder’s a happy ogre by Fyodor Tyutchev

Summer thunder’s a happy ogre
eddying flying dust
when a storm, welling darkly huge,
troubles the blue of the sky,
and when a sudden dart of madness
pounces on a grove, making trees shudder
wide-leaved and noisily.
As if beneath some unseen foot,
the woody giants bend
their tops in anxious grumbles
of a secret conference.
Through the quick alarm
not a single bird stops whistling,
and somewhere in the middle of it all
the first yellow leaf,
tumbling along a road, announces fall.


Autumn Dances by Alexander Blok

Where from do we take our Pleasure soon?
Where from will the Silence come near?

That’s the silence of dying cereals –
That’s the light time in world coming day:
That’s the dream, with the special signs filled,
That will pass now as yesterday.

What would mean a flying through the time, desires? –
Only splashes of girl’s hands, not other –
On the earth, on the green meadow is turning
The unseparable joyous circle round.

And the sun, being untidal, won’t break ever
The rest of Silence or once anger it.
Won’t forget the wood grass of the temper,
It will never forget such a spring.

And the snowflakes at the ravine’s slopes
Will sweep, fill up the edges completely.
There, where the water is flowing,
There, where is the dancing and willing.


[Excerpt] A melancholy time! So charming to the eye! by Alexander Pushkin

A melancholy time! So charming to the eye!
Your beauty in its parting pleases me –
I love the lavish withering of nature,
The gold and scarlet raiment of the woods,
The crisp wind rustling o’er their threshold,
The sky engulfed by tides of rippled gloom,
The sun’s scarce rays, approaching frosts,
And grey-haired winter threatening from afar.


Autumn by Aleksey Tolstoy

Dizzy whirling yellow leaves
Fill the wind swept air.
Yet the distant mountain ash
In the vale below,
With our favourite berries red
Now begins to glow.
While with rapture and with pain
Throbbing in my breast,
Pressing hot thy hands in mine,
Silent, unexpressed–
Fondly gazing in thine eyes,
Through my tears I see–
That I can never tell thee
How dear thou art to me!


Hopes Painted by the Autumn Cold by Sergei Yesenin

When the coat, flapping, flutters and falls straight.
On a far road the unseen traces, leading         
Neither to rest nor battle, lure and fade;
The golden heel of day will flash, receding,
And labours in the chest of years be laid.


Autumn by Mikhail Lermontov

And whirl and fly;
Only in Bor ate numb
The dark green store.

Under a hanging rock
I do not love between colours
Plowman to relax sometimes
From the afternoon papers.

The beast brave necessarily
Hiding somewhere in a hurry.
Night month dim, and field
Through the mist, only silver.


Autumn by Konstantin Balmont

Away, a blue sea.
All the trees Shine
In the colourful dress.

The sun rarely laughs,
No flowers incense.
Soon Autumn wakes up
And cry in the morning.


Golden autumn by Boris Pasternak

Echo steep descent
And dawn cherry glue
Solidifies in the form of a bunch.

The autumn. Ancient area
Old books, clothes, weapons,
Where treasures directory
Turns cold.


Autumn by Afanasy Fet

When end-to-end web
Posts threads clear days
And under the window at the villager
Distant bells slyshna,

We do not feel sad, afraid again
Breathing close of winter,
And the voice of summer past
Clearly we understand.


The Railway [Excerpt] by Nikolay Nekrasov

One can repose – there is peace and the sky;
Leaves have as yet not had time to grow withered.
Yellow and fresh like a carpet they lie.

Glorious Autumn! Thy nights bright and frosty,
Placid and cloudless thy radiant days,
Nothing in nature is ugly – the tree stumps,
Clods of black earth and the green marshy ways.

Everything beautiful lies in the moonlight
Everywhere Russia, my country, 1 hail…
Thinking my thoughts I am hastening onwards,
Home on the spreading steel rail…


Devils by Alexander Pushkin

Sundry, ugly devils, whirling
In the moonlight’s milky haze:
Swaying, flittering and swirling
Like the leaves in autumn days…
What a crowd! Where are they carried?
What’s the plaintive song I hear?
Is a goblin being buried,
Or a sorceress married there?


Autumn in Russia by Markelov Vladimir

The wood seems to be tired.
Preparation of all alive to the lingering somnambulist.
Disturbing feelings of forthcoming separation, loss.
The last elaborate trees apparel in yellow-orange-purple colours.
Autumn had sewed to the trees exclusive sundresses.
And they flaunt, as if brides at the fair.
But tomorrow they will be shamelessly naked
by the severe husband November.


Text and poetry selection: Shima Vezvaei, Mykhaylo Bonovskyy

Photography: Von Yao


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