We’re all boozers and floozies here,
altogether a joyless crowd!
On the walls, the flowers and birds
yearn for clouds.
You sit puffing your black pipe;
smoke is rising; strange and dim.
This tight skirt makes me look
slimmer than slim.
The windows boarded up for good –
what’s out there? Lightning? Snow?
Like those of a cautious cat
your eyes glow.
What is my heart longing for?
Am I waiting for Death’s knell?
And the woman dancing now
is bound for Hell.
by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova)
a.k.a. Anna Gorenko
translated by Margo Shohl Rosen
Lord, if I am a poor and feeble
sentenced to tedious labour
until the grave,
allow me to transcend myself
in one eternal prayer,
to compose eigth lines,
whose flame burns clear
by Фёдор Сологуб (Fyodor Sologub)
a.k.a. Фёдор Кузьмич Тетерников (Fyodor Kuzmich Teternikov)
translated by Robert Chandler
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.
Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.
by Philip Larkin ( 1922 – 1980)