The Winter Road
Through the misty billows’ fingers Threads the moon with pallid shade, On the dismal glades she lingers, Casts her dismal beams’ parade. Down the listless winter passage Races troika pulled by hounds, Tolls the sleigh-bell’s one-note message, Fills the air with tedious sounds. Something cherished catches hearing In the coachman’s drawn-out songs: Now a rowdy ode endearing, Now in yearning dirge he longs. Neither fire, nor darkened hovel… Snowy wastes… Towards me rush Flashing versts dug out by shovel Through the dark night’s mournful hush. Fretful, Nina, with the dawning, Darling, I’ll return to you, Dozing by the fire and yawning, Gaze unseeing, thoughts eschew. Ticking hand of clock is tracking, Now completed is its course, Tiresome hangers-on sent packing, Midnight us will not divorce. Nina, how the journey bores me, Coachman, dozing, silent falls, Sleigh-bell still it jingles dully, Mist across the moon’s face trawls. Translated by Rupert Moreton The Winter Road Through the murk the moon is veering, Ghost-accompanist of night, On the melancholy clearings Pouring melancholy light. Runs the troika with its dreary Toneless jangling sleigh-bell on Over dismal snow' I'm weary, Hungry, frozen to the bone. Coachman in a homely fashion's Singing as we flash along; Now a snatch of mournful passion, Now a foulmouthed drinking-song. Not a light shines, not a lonely Dusky cabin... Snow and hush... Streaming past the troika only Mileposts, striped and motley, rush. Dismal, dreary... But returning Homewards! And tomorrow, through Pleasant crackles of the burning Pine-logs, I shall gaze at you: Dream, and go on gazing, Nina, One whole circle of the clock; Midnight will not come between us, When we gently turn the lock On our callers... Drowsing maybe, Coachman's faded, lost the tune; Toneless, dreary, goes the sleigh-bell; Nina, clouds blot out the moon.