In a strange house, in a far away land,
her portrait hangs on the wall;
she herself is dying like a beggar woman,
lying on straw, in pain that can’t be told.
But here she looks as she always did look –
she is young, rich and draped
in the luxurious green cloak
in which she was always portrayed.
I gaze at your counternance as if at an icon…
‘Blessed be your name slaughtered Rus!’
I quietly touch your cloak with one hand;
and with that same hand make the sign of the cross.
by Тэффи (Teffi) (1872 – 1952)
a.k.a. Надежда Александровна Лoхвицкая (Nadezhda Alexandrovna Lokhvitskaya)
translated by Robert Chandler