It may be that a better way
to conquer time and world
is to pass and not to leave a trace—
to pass, and not to leave a shadow
on the walls… To be, but by denial:
to break both mirror and reflection.
To ride the Caucasus like Lermontov
and not to wake the rocks.
It may be that the better art
is with the hand of Bach
to leave the organ undisturbed—
to vanish, not to leave a cinder
for the urn … To be, but by deceit:
to strike yourself from latitudes.
to slip through time as through the sea
and not to break the waves.
Marina Tsvetaeva May 14, 1923
Translation by Paul Schmidt, The Stray Dog Cabaret (2007)