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I have attended the concert of your lips,

I am sure I know of no agony comparable

To sensing of this opera.

The “bogatyrs” they are,

Are chivalrous,

Are knight-like characters

From Russian medieval folklore tales –

But also a complex orchestra of Mussorgsky:

ominous, grief-stricken, playful, and triumphant

– entirely familiar to me –

Allegro giusto, nel modo russico;

Senza allegrezza, ma poco sostenuto!

I am a Night unburdened, on Bald Mountain, 

When your song enters my empty ear,

But oh, how deep the notes go,

And what long, and arid, and head-aching

‘Between-time’ waiting for your opera,

Which always so reminds me

Of book-length winters in Nizhny.

I often feel happy in the presence of lips without words,

And often more than that

In the presence of lips full of poetry…

Drawing ‘Smith&Rimbaud” by Sara Maino, 2023