What a sturdy square block of a thing you are! Such a fine, white, self-satisfied creature! Sometimes you stand dumb as a boulder or drop off into a cold sleep, or Sometimes your metal belly rumbles, but there's no point in working out your meaning. Of all machines the fridge must be the most good-natured; hog-fat and roomy as a snow-drift, it must be said to hold the purest heart. Firmly under human domination even the cold that creeps out from it is only a small cold blast, too small to threaten any freeze-up of our future. If ever robots rise in revolution, if ever they attack the human race, at least you refrigerators won't be amongst the ones to break the peace. For you are the house-dog of machinery a faithful and contented animal; so give your door a docile wag for Man, your living friend, and show him how you smile. by Борис Абрамович Слуцкий (Boris Abramovich Slutsky) (19??) translated by Elaine Feinstein
I go outside to find the way.
Through broken mist I glimpse a flinty path.
I am alone. This empty place hears God;
and stars converse with stars.
The heavens are a miracle
and pale blue sleep lies over all the earth.
What’s wrong with me? Why does life seem so hard?
Do I still cherish hope? Or hurt?
No, no, I have no expectations.
I’ve said goodbye to my past joys and griefs.
Freedom and peace are all I wish for now;
I seek oblivion and sleep.
But not the cold sleep of the grave –
my dream is of a sweeter sleep that will
allow life’s force to rest within a breast
that breathes, that still can rise and fall.
I wish a voice to sing all day
and night to me of love, and a dark tree,
an oak with spreading boughs, to still my sleep
with the green rustle of its leaves.
by Михаил Юрьевич Лермонтов (Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov)
translated by Robert Chandler