by Осип Эмильевич Мандельштам (Osip Emilyevich Mandelshtam.)
His surname is commonly latinised as Mandelstam)
translated by Anatoly Liberman
from the poetry collection камен (Stone)
‘This is a hauntingly beautiful lyric, though all the references are wrong; Oliver Twist does not spend a minute in the office, Paul Dombey never deals with his father’s clerks, no one cracks jokes in his presence, no debtor hangs himself in that novel, and the Thames is not Yellow.’
– Anatoly Liberman
Beneath is the original, Russian Cyrillic, version of the poem.
because a stalwart councillor, after too many beers,
slipped on his way to a spaghetti
and skewered himself on the castiron cactus!
‘DESTROY KILLER PLANTS!’ screamed the local press,
but law and order merchants were impressed
by its vicious leaves and bought thousands
to surround the Civic Centre, school and institutions.
Soon the forked flora had spread everywhere
threatening the soles of stray vandals,
so the Council named it ‘Psychodahlia’
and the computer was made into mayor.
by Mike Jenkins
from This House, My Ghetto
Additional information: Mike Jenkins (born 1953) is a Welsh poet, story writer and novelist writing in English. He taught English at Radyr Comprehensive School in Cardiff for nearly a decade and Penydre High School, Gurnos, Merthyr Tydfil, for some two decades before that. At the end of the 2008–2009 academic year Jenkins took voluntary redundancy. He now writes full-time, capitalising on experiences gleaned from former pupils. He continues to live in Merthyr Tydfil, and has done so for over 30 years. He is also the father of Plaid Cymru politician Bethan Sayed née Jenkins MS and journalist Ciaran Jenkins.