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Georgy Gennys. Young Helmets
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Georgy Gennys. Young Helmets

 
in this city children began to be born

irrespective of the childbearing efforts of men and women

they were born of their own accord

and could be found

in the most unexpected places

 

such as post boxes, the few that still remained in some streets

most of them had been ransacked

desecrated due to the lack of mailed correspondence

 

or in tree hollows

so that the owners, birds or animals.

were forced to huddle together

or abandoned their dwellings altogether

 

or in burrows dug by someone in the ground

– children were pulled out of them

with the help of trained dogs

that could smell the breath of infant life

 

every day, a truck would drive into every courtyard in the city

and from the sides of the truck the workers escorting the cargo

would hang down a wide strap-on bag

where the newborns lay.

 

tenants came up

pulled the edges of the cradles toward them

took the screaming babies in their arms

walked around with them

sniffed their soft heads

and tossed them up a little to gauge their fatness

waited for them to settle down and fall asleep

to return moments of joy

to the transporters
 

an old man with a cane also looked into one of the bags

“Don’t pick it up, grandpa.

you’ll drop it.”

he was warned by a lady

with two babies

clinging to her chest
 

“God forbid”

said the old man

“boom boom

where does it come from

this boom

what’s it about this boom.”
 

A policeman walked by the truck and watched:

everyone had to be lifted back into the back of the truck

and fitted into a safe place

then taken to the Young Helmets garrison

–which stood in a dense coniferous forest

with carved glades in it

from which the dark silhouettes

of defensive phalluses rose up

covered by a fake of fallen leaves.
 

the truck was finally leaving

the people saw it off in satisfaction

their self-esteem was flattered

that the common people had not been passed again

by the gifts of the future

growing up before their eyes

 

Translated by Nina Kossman
 

About the Author:

1. georgy Gennys
Georgy Gennys
Moscow, Russia

Georgy Gennys (1954, Moscow, Russia) is a poet, writer, and translator. In 1976, he graduated from the Institute of Foreign Languages. Then worked in a publishing house and on television. He has authored several poetry books. His works have appeared in magazines and anthologies. In 2019 he was shortlisted for the Andrei Bely Prize. He also translated from French and English.

Georgy Gennys
Bookshelf
by Ian Probstein

A new collection of poems by Ian Probstein. (In Russian)

by Ilya Perelmuter (editor)

Launched in 2012, “Four Centuries” is an international electronic magazine of Russian poetry in translation.

by Ilya Ehrenburg

Ilya Ehrenburg (1891–1967) was one of the most prolific Russian writers of the twentieth century.  Babi Yar and Other Poems, translated by Anna Krushelnitskaya, is a representative selection of Ehrenburg’s poetry, available in English for the first time.

by William Conelly

Young readers will love this delightful work of children’s verse by poet William Conelly, accompanied by Nadia Kossman’s imaginative, evocative illustrations.

by Maria Galina

A book of poems by Maria Galina, put together and completed exactly one day before the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This is Galina’s seventh book of poems. With translations by Anna Halberstadt and Ainsley Morse.

by Aleksandr Kabanov

The first bilingual (Russian-English) collection of poems by Aleksandr Kabanov, one of Ukraine’s major poets, “Elements for God” includes poems that predicted – and now chronicle – Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

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