No poet, no artist of any sort, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists. - T.S.Eliot


An empty  alley. Swift streamlets running...
"It's spring!" they mutter, A girl shrieks with laughter.
A drunken red dwarf dances up. That's funny!
He won't let her pass. What's the old thing after?

The girl's in a fright. Pulls her kerchief tighter.
The sun's behind a chimney. The  dwarf, a red ball,
Jumps into a puddle. With wrinkled hand, lightly
He plays with the water. It's evenfall.

Reflections beckon. The girl feels chilly.
A street lamp winks afar off... Oh, look!—
The red sun has sunk behind a building.
Wild laughter. Splashes. Factory smoke.

Sounds, indistinct ones, floating nearer...
An old man coughs... Water drips... A pair
Of dilated eyes with no pupils in them.
Two cold, lifeless hands clutching the air.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

A shapeless wet bundle — Wretched! Homelessi—
She lies by a fence in the scary dark.
Don't let the night end!.. Her weeping is toneless.
A disgrace to return with the devil's mark.

Overturned tubs. In the streamlets merrily
The blueness dances. It's morning anew.
Red chevaux-de-frise. Soldiers cheerily
Splashing through the water: left, right! one, two!

The girl lies asleep by the fence. A hairy
Head with a mutter bends over her. Boo!
The ugly old dwarf is busy, very:
He's sailing shoes in the stream: one, two!

The shoes spin along, but are soon overtaken
By a red cap. See it? There it floats.
Wild laughter. Splashes. In the cap's wake come
A beard, a dog's ears, and a red tail coat.

They rush past. What's the water murmuring?
The girl slowly wakes, in her eyes red-blue rings.
Sun beams playing, water shimmering.
Streams, sprays and spurts of it. Spring. Spring. Spring.

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]
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Akhmatova A.A.
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