Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Maria Stepanova

DON\'T WAIT FOR US, MY DARLING

Don’t wait for us, my darling
Me and my friend been took.
Reporting back from the front, sir:
There’s war wherever you look.

We’re based down in a basement
In the deepest depths of the clay
They’re throwing flames above us
But we’ve gone away

Some arrived only lately
Some at the beginning of time
All of them flat as playing cards
Fallen in the grime.
And the earth that flows between us
is thick as wine.

We were men but now
We’re amino acids in soup
The smell of tears and sperm
And bonemeal and gloop

And me I’m singed at the edges
A piece of felted wool 
The one who stood at the window with you
Is made of deep hole.

When they lay that table
With plates on damask cloth
When they light the Christmas tree
And sing Ave to the host
When a camel hoof
Breaks the icy crust –

A king’s ransom: gold 
Frankincense and myrrh
Won’t light us through the cold
Won’t ward off the hunger
So it was all a lie, my girl.

No need to caress the brambles
Or finger through the copse
I’m the empty corner of old cloth
The earth has lain on top.

WEET, LIEVE, DAT NOCH MIJN MAKKER

Weet, lieve, dat noch mijn makker,
Noch ik straks thuiskom.
Dit valt er te rapporteren:
Alleen maar oorlog rondom.

Een schuilput, de diepste bodem
Der aarde, is ons kwartier,
Er slaan vlammenwerpers boven,
Die reiken niet tot hier.

De nieuwen en degenen
Die hier al een poosje zijn,
Draaien hun plaatjes, dicht aaneen
Als dominostenen van dit domein,
Met vloeibare aarde tussen ons in,
Stroperiger dan wijn.

Ooit mensen. Dat is gedaan en
Nu zijn we eiwitsoep,
De geur van sperma en tranen,
Wortels, vermolmde troep.

Ik ben maar een zwartgeblakerd vod,
De zoom van een krijgsgewaad,
Nu hij die naast jou bij het venster stond
Uit diepe kuilen bestaat.

Wanneer het feestmaal klaar is,
De kerstboom groen en rood
Opgloeit en de fanfares
De ‘ave’ heffen, devoot,
Wanneer een dromedaris
De ijskorst kraakt met zijn poot,

Dan kunnen goud noch zijde,
Noch wierook en ivoor
Honger en kou bestrijden,
Ergo, je loog me voor.

Te laat, te laat: dat je bij me staat,
De wortels terzijde trekt.
Ik ben een sinds tijden leeg gewaad,
Een vod met grond bedekt.

Не жди нас домой, дорогая,
Ни друга, ни меня.
Докладываю обстановку:
Кругом одна война.

Базируемся в землянке
На самом дне земли,
Над нами бьют огнеметы,
Но мы от них ушли.

И те, кто здесь недавно,
И те, кто уже давно,
Лежат во тьме, как домино,
И слушают свое кино
И между нами земля течет
Густая, как вино.

Мы были людьми. Теперь мы
Белковая уха,
Мы запах слез и спермы,
И корни, и труха.

И сам я только клок сукна,
Обожженного по краям,
А тот, что стоял с тобой у окна,
Состоит из глубоких ям.

Когда на стол под полку
Поставят десяток блюд,
Когда затеплят елку
И аве запоют,
Когда ледяную корку
Копытом пробьет верблюд –

Ни золото, ни ладан,
Ни смирна, ни смола
Не справятся с гладом и хладом,
А значит, ты лгала.

Не стой, не стой над этой кустой,
Не перебирай корней.
Я край одежды давно пустой,
Земля лежит на ней.
Close

DON\'T WAIT FOR US, MY DARLING

Don’t wait for us, my darling
Me and my friend been took.
Reporting back from the front, sir:
There’s war wherever you look.

We’re based down in a basement
In the deepest depths of the clay
They’re throwing flames above us
But we’ve gone away

Some arrived only lately
Some at the beginning of time
All of them flat as playing cards
Fallen in the grime.
And the earth that flows between us
is thick as wine.

We were men but now
We’re amino acids in soup
The smell of tears and sperm
And bonemeal and gloop

And me I’m singed at the edges
A piece of felted wool 
The one who stood at the window with you
Is made of deep hole.

When they lay that table
With plates on damask cloth
When they light the Christmas tree
And sing Ave to the host
When a camel hoof
Breaks the icy crust –

A king’s ransom: gold 
Frankincense and myrrh
Won’t light us through the cold
Won’t ward off the hunger
So it was all a lie, my girl.

No need to caress the brambles
Or finger through the copse
I’m the empty corner of old cloth
The earth has lain on top.

DON\'T WAIT FOR US, MY DARLING

Don’t wait for us, my darling
Me and my friend been took.
Reporting back from the front, sir:
There’s war wherever you look.

We’re based down in a basement
In the deepest depths of the clay
They’re throwing flames above us
But we’ve gone away

Some arrived only lately
Some at the beginning of time
All of them flat as playing cards
Fallen in the grime.
And the earth that flows between us
is thick as wine.

We were men but now
We’re amino acids in soup
The smell of tears and sperm
And bonemeal and gloop

And me I’m singed at the edges
A piece of felted wool 
The one who stood at the window with you
Is made of deep hole.

When they lay that table
With plates on damask cloth
When they light the Christmas tree
And sing Ave to the host
When a camel hoof
Breaks the icy crust –

A king’s ransom: gold 
Frankincense and myrrh
Won’t light us through the cold
Won’t ward off the hunger
So it was all a lie, my girl.

No need to caress the brambles
Or finger through the copse
I’m the empty corner of old cloth
The earth has lain on top.
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère