THE WAR CAPTIVATED THEM
An angel was crossing the sky of midnight
His tiny wings went putt-putt.
Golden curled, swift and featherlight,
No business to think about.
He was coming to visit his native land
Which, in his life before,
He left, along with some fifty men,
And went to fight in a war.
The war captivated them, ba-da-boom,
Spreading its wings of fire.
High and dry, alone in her room,
His wife was staying behind.
She sits and knits, keeping silent when
Her baby goes goo-goo-oh.
The postman raps on a window pane
Standing knee-deep in snow.
On the floor, wet traces dry up, dry up.
Water drips from the tap, drip-drip.
In the pictures, they smile, hold hands, and hug.
Her bags are packed for the trip.
The young woman was traveling far and wide.
A bell was tolling, ding-dong.
She searched for her husband but could not find,
And finally came back home.
Lo, on the doorstep she meets her son,
His hair cut short, cut short.
Forgive me, mother, but just the same
I’m off to fight in a war.
Clots of clouds drift in the heavens.
Angels, begone! Shoo, shoo!
Or else our boys in the air defense
Are getting ready to shoot.
ВОЙНА ИХ МАНИЛА
По небу полуночи ангел летел,
золотокудр и пустотел,
не по делам, а так.
Летел навестить родные места,
откуда в жизни иной
он и еще человек полста
отправились за войной.
Война их манила, обожжена,
а где-то там молодая жена
осталася на бобах,
сидит и молча пряжу сучит,
в окошко ее почтальон стучит,
валенки все в снегу.
Мокрый след высыхает в сенях,
из крана – все кап да кап,
на карточке – ихняя вся семья
и нараспашку шкап.
Долго жена молодая шла,
колокол бом да бом,
мужа искала, да не нашла
и воротилась в дом.
А на крылечке стоит сынок –
стрижен – под ноль, под ноль:
ты извини меня, мама, но
мне пора за войной.
По небу клоками летят облака,
ангелы, вам чего?
Летите отсюдова прочь, пока
спят бойцы ПВО.
Alla Bossart is a journalist, poet, and prose writer. She graduated from Moscow State University with a degree in journalism and worked for various national (i.e., Russian) publications. After 1985, she worked for Moscow News, Ogonyok, and Stolitsa. She began writing for Novaya Gazeta and became its staff writer. An author of three novels, a nominee for the Big Book Award, Alla has authored five books of prose, a three-volume book of journalism, and three collections of poetry. Her poems have been published in many Russian-language magazines in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kiev, Yekaterinburg, Israel, and in the United States and Australia.
Andrei Burago was born and raised in St. Petersburg, where he graduated from the Faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics of the St. Peterburg State University. Andrei moved to the USA in 1991. Currently, he lives in Seattle and works as a software developer.
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