We donít need novels, stories and inventions. We keep ourselves enlightened all the time. The best of books to me is the collection Of laws that deal with punishment and crime. And if I cannot sleep, alarmed and saddened, Or if, after a spree, I get a head, I open Code of Laws at any page, at random, And read it carefully, from A to Z. I havenít given tips to my companions, Their cognizance of robbery is firm. I have just read about it in the manual: From three up to ten years of prison term. Just think about these lines, they are quite simple But more expressive than all novels of the world. Behind them there are barracks, wretched people, Cards, fights and scandals, cheating, and harsh word. I wish I wouldnít read these lines of drear. I see a personís life behind each phrase. Itís nice when articles are not severe: Somebody may be lucky in that case. My heart jumps moaning like a wounded pigeon When I read articles concerning me. Blood hammers in my temples, - I envision: Itís cops who hammer at my door, I see.
© Alec Vagapov. Translation, 1999