What’s the house that In the gloom being dumb, Up the gales is set From four sides which come, With the windows all Looks the gully back, - And the entrance wall - The byroad track? I unharnessed the horses - dead tired of the ride. Come and help! Is there anyone living still in? No-one, only a shadow flashing inside, And a vulture went down and narrowed a spin. As you drop this place In, a hellhole like, And the populace - Every third can strike. Will dislodge jaw bones, Uninvited guest! Even Saint Icons - Are awry, in a mess. And a strange and ambiguous talk was adrift, Someone bawled out songs, tensed the guitar to play, And the lad epileptic - a daft and a thief - Just from under the tablecloth showed a blade. "Who will answer me - What’s this house vague, In the dark let be As a hut in plague? Light of lamps’ s gone, Air’ s given out... If forget you, don’t, What to live is, how? You have doors open wide, when your spirit is locked. "Who’ s the host here is? - better wine would you give." "Seems that after your vagrancy long you’ re shocked By what human is, - ever this way we live!" Grass devour, On a sorrel long, Mind went sour, Pimply sore along, Drew enjoyment from Booze and nothing else, Disarranged the home Fighting, hanging ’selves." "I exhausted the horses from wolves dodging round. Will you point the place in the icon-lamp shine, Will you point the land to me I wish I found, - Where songs are, no groan, no sloping floor line!" "Of such homes if Never heard we, nay, In the dark to live Have we got in t’ way. Ill design comes back From malicious roots Under icons black Of a smoky soot." Having thrown a whip, straight ahead from the stink Where Saints hang askew was I trying to leave For wherever the eyes saw and horses could bring, Where people live, and like people they live. ...So much blasted was, so much gusted through! The life cast me and tossed - hasn’t cast me to. Might I sing of them not too well, oh, yea, Ochi chiernyie, skatiert’ bielaia!
© Natalia Tverskova. Translation, 2000