One Day by R.S. Thomas

In that day language

shall expose its sores,

begging for the alms

we can not give. ‘Leave it’

we shall say, ‘on the pavement

of the quotidian.’ There is

a cause there is nobody

to plead, yet whose sealed lips

are its credentials. What

does the traveller to your door

ask, but that you sit down

and share with him that

for which there are no words?

I look forward to the peace

conferences of the future

when lies, hidden behind speeches,

shall have their smiles blown away

by the dove’s wings, fanning in silence.

 

by R. S. Thomas

Mass for Hard Times (1992)

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They Played Pushkin On A Grand Piano by Sergey Chudakov

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