Heat the Banya, heat it white, Unused to the wide world, head hung, Blistered by scalding steam, I might Be seared ítil I loosen my tongue. Heat it! Heat me a banya, housekeeper, Until Iím scorched, ítil I burn out, One the benchís edge iíll teeter, And beat away my doubt. Iíll unwind and shed all propriety, Pour cold water on my dream, Skin inked with cult of personality, My tattoos flush in the steam. Heat it! Heat the banya, heat it white, Unused to the wide world, head hung, Blistered by scalding steam, I might Be seared ítil I loosen my tongue. Our idols, our trees, all are fallen, Tracks of tears, all the tracks we tread, On my left chest, the profile of Stalin, On my right, my Marinkaís sweet head. Ekh! in payment for selflessdevotion I had paradise, rest and relief, In exchange for a life that is hopeless, I surrendered my stupid belief. Heat the banya, heat it white, Unused to the wide world, head hung, Blistered by scalding steam, I might Be seared ítil I loosen my tongue. I recall that Siberian morning, Only ęhelp!Ľ to my brother I moaned, Two fine guards brought me without warning, To a Siberia Iíd never known. Into quarries and marshes weíre fallen, From raw meat and tears bellies ache, On our left chest, the profile of Stalin, The better to hear our hearts break. Donít heat the banya, not white, Unused to the wide world, head hung, Blistered by scalding steam, I might Be seared ítil I loosen my tongue. Okh, I shiver with dwelling on detalis, This steam makes the dark thoughts retreat, From the chill of the pastís cloudy veils, I plunge to a cloud of pure heat. These thoughts have so branded my brain, I need hardly have branded my skin. With birch branches Iím beating in vain, At the marks of the Dark Ageís sins. Heat, donít heat...Heat the banya,heat it white, Unused to the wide world, head hung, Blistered by scalding steam, I might Be seared ítil I loosen my tongue.
© Brigit McCone. Translation, 2015