Each and every thing goes in its trodden trail: Speak of what ye think - and they’ll send you to jail, Thieve - and also ye’ll spend your time being locked, Know a dangerous field - and one day ye’ll be shot. I believed in a short while the labor camps must be Out of sight, out of sight, But it turned out I came to this town blurred and dusty With no life, with no life. Lots of people walk here but no person seems human, Every look’s blank and dim. I looked at the black faces appeared in the gloom and Saw nor strangers nor kin. Each and every thing goes in its trodden trail: Speak of what ye think - and they’ll send you to jail, Thieve - and also ye’ll spend your time being locked, Know a dangerous field - and one day ye’ll be shot. So why said I rude words to my star for its keenness? What a sham, what a sham! So why yearned I for so many years for deliverance In the camp, in the camp? Lots of people walk here but no person seems human, Every look’s blank and dim. I looked at the black faces appeared in the gloom and Saw nor strangers nor kin.
© Akbar Muhammad. Translation, 2017
(akbarmuhammad.awardspace.co.uk)
[Adapted from Stas and Margaret Porokhnya’s
“It’s been this way since time began”.]