Blue as the dome of the great mosque of Isfahan.
A great dome of absolute, virgin silence .
Pierced by the bell-like voices of unseasonal bIrds.
The very sap rising in the birches is frost,
The snow underfoot rings with tiny, clear" echoes As the foot of a man crushes whole citi'es
Of galleried, honeycombed crystal with each step.
Somewhere a simple man is burning logs,
It is mid-morning and time for a cup of tea.
He fancies he hears, dying away through the forest, The echoes of his axe, notes from a fading bell.
In the honeycomb of his memories, a small voice is speaking, Tiny and clear and golden, calling the faithful to ~rayer. . Meanwhile, over the immense taiga, Mandelstam IS trudgmg, -towards Voronezh, or Moscow?