For all of us destiny is undivided.
You only have to sprain your ankle,
and at that moment in Addis Ababa
someone will cry out in pain
by Николай Владимирович Стефанович
(Nikolai Vladimirovich Stefanovich)
(1912 – 1979)
written in Perm, 1943
translated by Albert C. Todd
Связует всех единый жребий
Связует всех единый жребий:
Лишь стоит ногу подвернуть –
И в тот же миг в Аддис-Абебе
От боли вскрикнет кто-нибудь.
Откуда взялся ужас оный,
Который вдруг во мне возник?
Не заблудился ли ребёнок
В лесу дремучем в этот миг?
Additional notes: The English translation by Todd omits the latter half of the poem. The untranslated lines, roughly in English, are ‘Where did that horror come from? / Which suddenly appeared in me? / Has the child gone astray? / In the dense forest at this moment?‘ or, as a native Russian speaking friend translated them ‘Where does the terror that suddenly arose in me come from? / Did a child get lost in thick woods at this moment?’
I couldn’t find any major source of English information about Stefanovich in English after an, admittedy brief, search. However the Russian Wikipedia page for Stefanovich is available for those who can read Russian or are happy to use a translator.
A brief summary of some information from Stefanovich’s Russian Wikipedia page: Soon after the start of the war in 1941, the theater, in which Stefanovich was on duty, was hit by an air raid bombshell. (He was, as a result, seriously shell-shocked and became disabled for the rest of his life). During the same year, together with the theater, he was evacuated to Perm. He rarely published his poems during his life time with the few exceptions include pieces in the Permian newspaper Zvezda during wartime and in two issues of Poetry Day in the 1970s.
According to information from a number of publications, in the mid 1930s and early 1940s, he wrote denunciations (or investigative testimony) against several people who were subsequently repressed because of this, in particular Daniil Leonidovich Andreyev (the son of the author Leonid Andreyev – though you probably noticed that from his patronymic), Natalia Danilovna Anufriev, Alexander Arkardievich Borin and Daniil Dmitrievich Zhukovsky.
Stefanovich was a bookbinder and little-known actor in the Vakhtangov Theater in Moscow who almost never managed to publish his poetry during his lifetime. Nevertheless he beautifully bound his manuscripts and circulated them personally. Only after his death did his verse begin to appear, attracting readers with its literary acuteness and capacity to say much in few words.Biographical information about Stefanovich, p.604, ‘Twentieth Century Russian Poetry’ (1993), compiled by Yevgeny Yevtushenko (ed. Albert C. Todd and Max Hayward) , published by Fourth Estate Limited by arrangement with Doubleday of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc. (transcribed as found in the original text).