Dedicated to P. Chagin
I know my talent well. That writing poetry Is not so difficult, I can attest. But, poetry apart, The love I bear my country, Has tortured me, Given my.heart no rest. To praise in rhyme A girl, the stars or moonlight - Why, anyone can do that without strain... But it's a different feeling Eats my heart out, And different thoughts Are pressing on my brain. I wish to be a poet-bard And citizen, A model praised By all men near and far, Accepted as a real son, Not a stepson, In these great states of the USSR. I ran away from Moscow for a time: With the militia I don't get on well. For every drunken escapade of mine They kept me locked up In a prison cell. I thank those gentlemen for their kind care, But sleeping on a bench I do not relish Nor in a drunken voice Reciting there Some lines about a wretched Caged canary. I'm no cagebird to you! A poet am I! And not to be compared with that slob Bedny. What if drink sometimes makes my feet unsteady, Amazing worlds unfold Before my eyes. I see it all And clearly understand That this new era's Not a passing phase, That Lenin's name Stirs like a wind the land, Sets thoughts in motion Like a windmill's sails. Turn, darlings! You shall profit, I suppose. I am your nephew, You are all my uncles. Sergei, open your Marx, Sit down and study it, Let's taste the supreme wisdom Of dull prose. Like streams converging Days pass in review. Towns flicker past As letters do on pages. Of late in Moscow, Now I'm in Baku Where Chagin tells me How wells are sunk by stages. "Are not these derricks From which black oil spouts Much finer than the churches You're admiring?" He asks. "Of mysticism folk are tiring. Here's something live and real To write about." Oil like a Persian rug Lay on the water, Dusk scattered a sack of stars Across the sky. I'm willing to bet Baku's illuminations Are fairer now Than all the stars on high. With thoughts of industry my brain is busy, The voice of human strength rings loud and clear. Of bright stars in the sky None wish to hear. To make our own light here on earth Is easier. So here I go, I pat my own head lovingly And say: "The time has now come, I suppose. Sergei, open your Marx, Sit down and study it, To grasp The supreme wisdom of dull prose."