In the yard they nail tables together out of boards, - Until they have not been covered - they play at dominoes... The days in May are longer than the nights in December, And the time is getting long - but all has been decided! Already the pre-war lamps shine half as strong, Moscow is staring down from the windows at the prisoners, - And somewhere the soldiers have been wounded at the heart by splinters, And somewhere the scouts ought to have caught an informer. Here the banners are already inaugurated and the columns line up, And the cobble-stones are cleaner than the parquet on the floor, And nevertheless the battalions go and go and go to the west, And the women in the hinterland are sobbing over the news of deaths. There has not been drunk enough water from the wells, There have not been bought enough engagement rings - All has been washed away by the stream of the great disaster, For which the end is coming at last! On the panes the crosses of paper-strips have been stripped, And the shades were removed - the blackout is not necessary any more, - And somewhere - spirits out of the water-bottles are being handed out before the combat: They drive away everything - the cold, angst and pestilence. There the icons have been cleaned from the soot of the candles, And the soul and lips form prayers and verses, - But with the Red Cross go and go and go the squadrons, According to a news summary the bereavements are not so extensive. The gardens are already blooming everywhere, And the earth is warming up, as well as the water in the ditch, - And soon the distinction for the self-denialling hardship is due - A cushion of fresh grass under the head! The surveillance- balloons swing no longer above the town, The sirens have ceased howling and are ready to broadcast the victory But the company-commanders succeeded after all to become battalions-commanders - Which all of them could still be killed. There sound the captured accordions, There the vows can be heard - life in harmony, in love, without debts, - And nevertheless the squadrons go and go and go to the west, And it seems to us - that there is almost no enemy left!..
Elisabeth Jelinek. Translation, 2017