by Michael Scherbakov
translated by Yury Nesterenko

What a nightmare: to live without aim and sense,
To be an aphis, nothing more,
However, judging by your glasses, to seem a humanist by sight,
To spin around your axis all your age without
The azimuth and knowing things,
And, even if you guess the orbit, to move across it anyway;

To look around and drop your eyes, in order not
To see details and so not to harden into stone...
Oh, stinking garden! Oh, sabre-toothed town! Oh,
Nauseous sea country... nasty, nasty, foul horizon!

And now - the sands. A varan can attack your here,
You can be caught by a simoom,
You want to run away from here - certainly, if you are alone.
And what if not? With regiment at your command?
Two? Three? Imagine for a while:
Three thousand of men, and each one thinks of nothing but himself.

Ecclesiast would lose his mind, and Hercules -
His legendary power, but you have no right to shake.
Oh, that fanaticism!  Oh, poor daily exploit!
Oh, that exhaustion... shooting, shooting, minus round.

But much more foul, if suddenly inspite of all
The real Cup of Holy Grail
In search of eyes to which be shown, would select exactly yours.
Don't waste your time! Here is the brush, create and paint.
Moreover, you are just Matisse,
Or even Picasso of any period - either pink or blue.

Oh look - you did it! Showed, ravished, got your prize,
Made bows. What's later? Public left the gallery, the grail
Has disappeared. Again the dark and void around,
You again are not important, Picasso or not.

And further - stop. Excuse me, further is the wall.
Firewall with single window, and
You see in it a mason now, who is a plasterer besides.
And, row by row, he puts his bricks on fresh cement
To opening, and walls it up,
Removing this last way to go, gaily, as if he says to you:

"Hey you, don't whine! It is not very bad - your island.
Local population is not idle, including you.
Parterre is shady, town's decorum is refined,
Sea country is effulgent... Ziegel, Ziegel... Abgemacht... "

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