The radio is spewing crash and clangor,
The loudspeakers are thrashing on their stand.
“Citizens, the Motherland’s in danger,
Our tanks rolling through our neighbors’ land!”
It’s our tanks, our missiles, our artillery,
It’s our soldier watching through his sight,
Bombs rain down on city veins and arteries,
Carried by our warplanes day and night.
Sleep won’t come, and even if we sink
Into slumber on the other side of death,
Woven from our blood, our dead come whispering
In our ears their curses and their wrath –
Those who stayed on blood-soaked fields forever
Eighty years ago, now fill the skies,
Tactical white hornets, slice the air
Coming for our tanks with mournful cries.
* * *
Качество у звука безобразное,
Прыгают колонки на столе:
“Граждане, отечество в опасности*,
Наши танки на чужой земле!”
Наши танки, наша артиллерия,
Наш солдат сквозь визоры глядит,
Городские вены и артерии
Наша авиация бомбит.
Не приходит сон, а если все-таки
На изнанке смерти забытье,
Наши мертвые, из нашей крови сотканы,
Шепчут нам проклятие свое,
И, с полей кровавых не пришедшие
Восемьдесят лет тому назад,
Белыми тактическими шершнями
К нашим танкам с криками летят.
* This original poem by Yulia Юля Фридман is a riff on the famous 1968 text by Aleksandr Galich.
Yulia Fridman, b. 1970, is a researcher at the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow. Her poetry and prose appear in various online journals. Her published translations into Russian, done jointly with Dmitri Manin, include several works of Dr. Seuss and a memoir of a prominent French mathematician Alexandre Grothendieck.
Dmitri Manin is a physicist, programmer, and translator of poetry. His translations from English and French into Russian have appeared in several book collections. His latest work is a complete translation of Ted Hughes’ “Crow” (Jaromír Hladík Press, 2020) and Allen Ginsberg’s “The Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems” (Podpisnie Izdaniya, 2021). Dmitri’s Russian-to-English translations have been published in journals (Cardinal Points, Delos, The Café Review, Metamorphoses etc) and in Maria Stepanova’s “The Voice Over” (CUP, 2021). In 2017, his translation of a poem by Stepanova won the Compass Award competition.
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