They played Pushkin on a grand piano.
They killed Pushkin in a duel one day.
He had asked them for a plate of cloudberries
and, lying near a bookshelf, passed away.
In icy water, full of frozen clods,
they buried Pushkin, hallowed be his name.
And we too tend to meet too many bullets;
we hang ourselves, and open up our veins.
All too often we are hit by cars,
get tossed down stairwells in a drunken state.
We live – and all our petty intrigues
wound little Pushkin in some way.
Little, cast in iron, celebrated –
in a park deserted thanks to frost –
he stands (his understudy and replacement),
bitterly regretful at the loss
of youth, and of the title Kammerjunker,
of songs, of glory, of the girls in Kishinyov,
of Goncharova in her white lace petticoat,
and of death that cannot be shrugged off.
by Сергей Иванович Чудаков (Sergeĭ Ivanovich Chudakov)
translated by Boris Dralyuk