Sonnet on an Ice-Floe
by Ivan Alekseevich Bunin
High atop a summit's snowy line
I carved a sonnet with a bright steel blade.
The days shall pass. Perhaps, with winter's aid,
The snows will keep my solitary sign.
Upon a peak within the sky's blue height,
The sun my single witness, I cut fine
Upon an emerald ice-floe each firm line
While joy lent luster to the wintry light.
I smile to think another poet may
Discover me. May never he delight
In cheers from those who crowd his valley way!
Upon a peak within the sky's blue height
I carved a sonnet at the crest of day
Only for him who shares the topmost site.
Translation copyright © 1975 by Alan C. Elms.
Originally published as a broadsheet by Ulmus Press.