Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Maria Stepanova

Fidelio

The session begins, everything rustles,
They lead witnesses out and lead new ones in,
The sentence is delivered in haste,
The accused turns into the convicted.

The sentence is brought into action,
Usually with the doctor and the prison director.
They don’t allow relatives in here.
They don’t allow journalists in here either.
They let the convicted in here, one by one,
Arrange their shoulders, ankles and wrists,
Let them smoke one final cigarette,
Give them a shot, give them alternating current,
The convicted man turns into a bear.

The relatives don’t usually come to pick them up,
Although I do know of one exceptional case:
They keep it at the dacha, under guard, to live out its years.
The unclaimed ones are distributed to zoos,
To circus troupes, to private animal collections:
They aren’t aggressive, they can be trained well,
They walk on their hind legs, sometimes they say “Mama”.

(The woman disguised in the pelt of a guard
is politely ushered into a ‘Black Mariah’.)

Fidelio

De zitting wordt geopend, een en al geritsel,
Het is een komen en gaan van getuigen,
Er vindt een haastig vonnissen plaats.
Verdachte wordt schuldige.

Ze voeren het vonnis uit.
Doorgaans zijn er een arts en de gevangenisbaas bij.
Familieleden worden hier niet toegelaten.
De pers wordt evenmin toegelaten.
Ze brengen een voor een schuldigen binnen,
Maken hun schouders, enkels en polsen vast,
Laten hen hun laatste sigaret opsteken,
Dienen injecties en wisselende stroomstoten toe,
Schuldige wordt beer.

De meesten worden niet door familie opgehaald.
Al heb ik gehoord van een uitzonderlijk geval:
Een bewaakte datsja, met woud tot de rand toe.
Wie niet opgeëist is gaat naar een dierentuin,
Een circusgezelschap, een particuliere zoo;
Ze zijn vreedzaam, leren vlot,
Lopen op hun achterpoten, sommigen kunnen “mama” zeggen.

(Een vrouw die een bewakersvel draagt
wordt beleefd in de zespijper geholpen.)

Фиделио

Заседание начинается, всё шуршит,
Свидетелей выводят и вводят новых,
Второпях выносится приговор,
Обвиняемый превращается в осужденного.

Приговор приводится в исполнение,
Обычно при этом врач и начальник тюрьмы.
Родственников сюда не пускают.
Журналистов тоже сюда не пускают.
Сюда запускают осужденных, по одному,
Фиксируют плечи, щиколотки и запястья,
Дают покурить в последний,
Дают укол, дают переменный ток,
Осужденный превращается в медведя.

Родственники их обычно не забирают,
Хотя я знаю один исключительный случай:
Держат на даче, с охраной, там лес до краев.
Невостребованные расходятся по зоопаркам,
Цирковым коллективам, частным живым уголкам:
Неагрессивны, хорошо обучаются,
Ходят на задних, «мама» порой говорят.

(Женщину, переодетую в шкуру охранника,
вежливо усаживают в воронок.)
Close

Fidelio

The session begins, everything rustles,
They lead witnesses out and lead new ones in,
The sentence is delivered in haste,
The accused turns into the convicted.

The sentence is brought into action,
Usually with the doctor and the prison director.
They don’t allow relatives in here.
They don’t allow journalists in here either.
They let the convicted in here, one by one,
Arrange their shoulders, ankles and wrists,
Let them smoke one final cigarette,
Give them a shot, give them alternating current,
The convicted man turns into a bear.

The relatives don’t usually come to pick them up,
Although I do know of one exceptional case:
They keep it at the dacha, under guard, to live out its years.
The unclaimed ones are distributed to zoos,
To circus troupes, to private animal collections:
They aren’t aggressive, they can be trained well,
They walk on their hind legs, sometimes they say “Mama”.

(The woman disguised in the pelt of a guard
is politely ushered into a ‘Black Mariah’.)

Fidelio

The session begins, everything rustles,
They lead witnesses out and lead new ones in,
The sentence is delivered in haste,
The accused turns into the convicted.

The sentence is brought into action,
Usually with the doctor and the prison director.
They don’t allow relatives in here.
They don’t allow journalists in here either.
They let the convicted in here, one by one,
Arrange their shoulders, ankles and wrists,
Let them smoke one final cigarette,
Give them a shot, give them alternating current,
The convicted man turns into a bear.

The relatives don’t usually come to pick them up,
Although I do know of one exceptional case:
They keep it at the dacha, under guard, to live out its years.
The unclaimed ones are distributed to zoos,
To circus troupes, to private animal collections:
They aren’t aggressive, they can be trained well,
They walk on their hind legs, sometimes they say “Mama”.

(The woman disguised in the pelt of a guard
is politely ushered into a ‘Black Mariah’.)
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