All Rules Are Incorrect by Boris Slutsky

All rules are incorrect,

all laws remain perverse,

until they’re firmly set

in well-wrought lines of verse.


An age or era will

be merely a stretch of time

without a meaning until

it’s glorified in rhyme.


Until the poet’s ‘Yes!’,

entrusted by his pen

to print, awards success

to this or that – till then


the jury will be out,

the verdict still in doubt.


by Борис Абрамович Слуцкий (Boris Abramovich Slutsky)

(early 1960s)

translated by Stephen Campus