Like a razor, the daybreak slashed over the eyes, From the rotten mere, took off the steel dragonflies, As if talked of, the gunners presented themselves, And the gun shutters opened by devilish spells, And the merriment started - full-swing, at full pelt! We lay down on our abdomens and hid our fangs. Even those, even those who dove under the flags, Who perceived the wolf holes with the pads of the paws, Who couldn’t be overtaken even by the gun balls - Also lay, bathed in sweat, in a tractable pose. I’ve not heard of life’s smiling upon our wolf kin, So our fondness for her is quite senseless. On the contrary, death has a broad and pleasant grin, And her teeth are all stalwart and healthy. So let’s smile our disdainful wolf grin at the foes, Now the dogs will again see who’re stronger! But inscribed as a scarlet tattoo on the snow Is our signature: we’re wolves no longer! Thus we crawled - as the dogs’ ones, were tucked in our tails, And our muzzles to the sky were surprisedly upraised: Whether God’s retribution was spilt onto us, Or it was the world’s ending, or we lost our nuts... But we were beaten on end, and meant nothing our guts. We got soaked through in blood in the rainstorm of lead - With no chance for escaping, we no longer fled. Our hot abdomens melted the snow, not the sun. People, teached by the foe, made of our killing fun: Those who flew died in flight, those who run - on the run... With our wolf pack, ye dog pack don’t ever get mix, If the mix-up is equal - we’ll knock you. Look, we’re wolves - how remarkable our living is! And ye’re dogs - ye should die as the dogs do! So let’s smile our disdainful wolf grin at the foes, Cutting short any rumours that wrong us. But inscribed as a scarlet tattoo on the snow Is our signature: we’re wolves no longer! To the woods - I may rescue a few of you still! To the woods, wolves! When running, it’s harder to kill! Save the puppies! I’m thrashing around, easy prey For the gunners in liquor, who’re eager to slay, As I try to assemble the wolves’ souls gone astray!.. The survivors are over the stream, lying low. Being of my own power, what can I perform? As my sight as my nose are becoming no-good... Wolves, where are ye who used to inhabit the woods? Yellow-eyed kith and kin, just where are ye, my wolves?! ...I live on, but the beasts that surround me at present Have no sentiment what our wolf call is. These are dogs - our long-distance, forbidding relations, Being our rightful prey in the old days. And I smile our disdainful wolf grin at the foes, Bare the stubs ’stead of teeth that are long gone. But, inscribed as a scarlet tattoo on the snow, Fades our signature: we’re wolves no longer!
© Akbar Muhammad. Translation, 2016
(akbarmuhammad.awardspace.co.uk)
[Adapted from translations by other translators:
Bill Everett’s “Where Are You, Wolves?”,
Eugenia Weinstein’s “Where Are You, Wolves?”]