Perhaps the whisper was born before lips,
And the leaves in treelessness circled and flew,
And those, to whom we impart our experience as bliss,
Acquire their forms before we do.
— Osip Mandelstam, from “Octaves”, inTranslation: Poetry | Russia | Russian
March, 2011. “‘Octaves’ and Other Poems by Osip Mandelstam.” Translated from the Russian by Ian Probstein.