Galaktion Tabidze


About Galaktion Tabidze

TABIDZE, GALAKTION (1892-1959). Georgian poet. Born in the village of Chkviisi, he studied at the Tbilisi Theological Seminary, but became involved in revolutionary circles. In 1908, he published his first writings and later traveled to Russia and Europe, where he was influenced by the symbolists. A remarkably talented poet, he authored thousands of poems that established him as one of the greatest Georgian poets and accorded him the rare honor of being known simply as Galaktion. Among his most famous poems are Usikvarulod, Me da Ghame, Kari hkris, Droshebi chkara, Sasaplaoni, etc. Although he survived the Stalinist purges, the deaths of his wife and friends plunged him into depression and alcoholism. He was eventually placed in a psychiatric hospital but jumped to his death from the hospital window in 1959. 

Let the banners wave on high !

The day has dawned: A sun of fire glides up...
Let the banners wave on high !
The soul's athirst for Liberty and Right
As wounded deer that seek a streamlet bright.
Let the banners wave on high !

Glory to those with souls devoid of fear,
Who for the people's cause did bravely die...
Their names shine bright like torches in the night...
Let the banners wave on high !

Glory to him who fills our hearts with hope,
Braves foes with matchless worth and fearless eye !
The day has dawned! United let us fight!
Let Freedom's banner over us wave on high !

The Moon over Mtatsminda

My eyes have never seen the moon so lovely as tonight;
In silence wrapt it is the breathless music of the night.
Moonbeams embroider shadows with fine thread of silver light;
O, eyes have never seen the sky so lovely as tonight!

The moon adorned in beams of pearls seems like a queen divine;
The stars like fire-flies tangled in a web about her shine.
The Mtkvari flows a silver stream of lambent beauty bright;
O, eyes have never seen the sky so lovely as tonight!

Here in immortal calm and peace the great and noble sleep
Beneath the soft and dewy turf in many a mouldering heap.
Here Baratashvili came with wild desires to madness wrought,
Oppressed by raging fires of passion, and perplexing thought.

O, could I like the swan pour forth my sould in melody
That melts the mortal heart and breathes of immortality !
Let my free song fly far beyond this world to regions high
Where on the wings of poesy it will glorify the sky.

If death approaching makes the fragrance of the roses sweeter,
Attunes the soul to melodies that make all sadness dearer,
And if that swan's song thus becomes a denizen of heaven,
If in that song she feels that death will be but ecstasy, then, -
Let me like her sing one last song, and in death find delight.
So breathless still and lovely I have never seen the night!

O, mighty dead, let me die here beside you as I sing.
I am a poet, and to eternity my song I fling,
And let it be the fire that warms and lights the spirit's flight.
O, eyes have never seen the sky so lovely as tonight! 

Night and I

With pen in hand I sit alone while night is burning,
melting, pale.
The breeze that comes in from the window tells me the
valleys' fairy tale.
The earth tries to remove the veil the moon has thrown
over her face.
The wind beneath my window sways with lilacs in a
loose embrace.
Blue columns rise, then lean against the softness of
a dove-hued sky
As full of passion as I would these lines with rhymes
to glorify.
Enchantment silently transforms the world with stealthy
magic light
As full of passionate emotions as my heart this
very night.
Within my heart I long have borne a secret hidden from
all eyes
Lest it be soiled by breath or touch deep in my heart
secure it lies.
None knows what sorrow-burdened load that one heart can
in silence bear;
None knows the anguish that is mine, concealed within
my heart fore'er.
No warm embraces of smooth arms, no wonders of
love-laden breasts
Can ever lure away the secret that in my heart securely
No sleep, however heavy-eyed, no bowl with everflowing
Can reach the secret guarded in the darkness of this
heart of mine.
In sleepless hours when night shines on my window in
a clear white light
I open wide my heart and show my secret to the clear
white night.
Night knows the anguish I endured, the happiness that
passed me by.
In all the world we are but two —
night and I, night and I!

Somewhere I saw a face…

Somewhere I saw a face,
It haunts my wake and sleep.
Love words whisper in my ear,
Soft hands touch caressingly,
Breast clings to breast,
Lips to lips,
Yet unseen...
I searched for her,
Long and far...
In vain!
I know how far away she is, yet, —
Why does her nearness torture?!

You at the Sea-Side
The sea grew gray in the coming night.
You stood on the shore like a guiding light.
Your beauty lashed at me like fire,
Sweet adoration and desire.
A ship at sea enthralls the sight
As love — the heart with sweet delight.
I watched the fading ship depart…
I felt a pain... pain in my heart.
The vessel bore with her the fire
And ecstasy of sweet desire.

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