Missing The Troop Train by Yevgeny Vinokurov

There’s something desperate about trains…

I stood alone on the icy platform,

lost in the Bashkir steppes.

What can be more fantastic, more desolate

than the light of an electric lamp

rocking in a small station at night?

Trains swept past from time to time.

Their roar engulfed me,

I was submerged in coal dust,

and each time, I grabbed hold of my cap –

it looked as though I was greeting someone.

The bare, stunted tree by the side of the platform

reached out after them…

I waited for one train at least

to stop, for God’s sake!

In the distance was the dark forest mass.

I lifted my head –

over me, a vast

host of stars:

regiments,

divisions,

armies of stars,

all bound for somewhere.

An hour earlier, I’d got out of the train

to fetch some boiling water…

I could be court-martialled for this.

I stood there,

the snow melted round my boots,

and the water in the aluminium kettle I was holding

had already iced over.

Above the forest mass I saw

a little star,

fallen a long way behind the others.

I looked at it

and it looked at me.

 

by Евгений Михайлович Винокуров (Yevgeny Mikhailovich Vinokurov)

(1965)

translated by Daniel Weissbort

Published by

MrHearne

Russian and Welsh poetry. Updated every Sunday. Also reviews of literature, films, theatre, food and drink, etc. Any support or engagement is appreciated.

2 thoughts on “Missing The Troop Train by Yevgeny Vinokurov”

  1. Do you know the poem vy EVgeny Vinokurov – that starts “Every Railway station has a book” and ends ” crying in the park last night”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Elizabeth, thanks for supporting the blog, it’s very much appreciated!

      I found the poem you asked about in a Russian poetry anthology I own but no websites, with an English translation, to link you to immediately. The poem begins with ‘Every store keeps a book for complaints…’ but has the same last line you quoted.

      If you come back here Sunday morning at 8:30 (UK time) I’ll have it up in full for you.

      Here is the Russian title too in case you can’t wait until then: ‘Книга жалоб – в каждом магазине…’

      Like

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