A lone white sail shows for an instant
Where gleams the sea, an azure streak.
What left it in its homeland distant?
In alien parts what does it seek?
The billows play, the mast bends, creaking,
The wind, impatient, moans and sighs... It is not joy that it is seeking,
Nor is't from happiness it flies.
The blue waves dance, they dance and tremble,
The sun's bright rays caress the seas.
And yet for storm it begs, the rebel,
As if in storm lurked calm and peace!...
(1832, translated by Irina Zheleznova, from Mikhail Lermontov: Selected Works, Progress Publishers, Moskow, 1976)
Here is a translation of Lermontov's Парус. This is only one of the many poems that Mikhail Lermontov wrote. He was born in Moscow and began writing his poems at the age of fourteen. Throughout his life he was exiled several times because of conflicts with the French ambassador's son. His death came at the age of 27 when he fought in his last quarrel.