By Larisa Miller
Translated by Natalie Roy
A Lyrical poem investigating the changing landscape of the megacity Moscow, from one of the country’s foremost poets, Larisa Miller.
Along the Garden Ring and Begovaya
They’re digging incessantly here and there,
Huge sledgehammers pounding
At the shabby houses condemned to demolition,
To the accompaniment of rumbling behemoth-machines.
But in the dead of night there’s not a sound
While people scorch and demolish themselves
Within the limits of their own souls.
* * *
Living in the city we lament
That pneumatic rollers mutilate it,
And bulldozers rip it open.
Looking at the river we lament
That it looks as a sick orphan, a withered cripple.
We grieve for what has been a grove,
And this wood looking depressed and skinny.
Living in my native land I grieve for it,
I miss it but desire no other land.
* * *
Snow-white pigeons soar over the shed.
I wish I could borrow from them
All their white to cover our winter.
White feathers for the bare forest
And the nearby streets and lanes.
I yearn to walk along them
Away from my chores and words,
Into the woods and the fields,
Carrying the quiet feathers on my shoulders.
* * *
Today I won’t circumvent the crowd to overtake
The people hurrying ahead of me.
I wander leisurely along the much-trodden Petrovka
With its forests of shop windows and seas of pedestrians,
Craving to possess all things on sale,
Not missing a single booth.
They desire these things like a forbidden fruit,
And there is no end to eager shoppers.
I wander aimlessly with this human flow
And amidst those hundreds souls I’m all alone.
I endeavor to understand the temptations of the city
Like a provincial girl first time in the capital.
I’m not resisting my earthly passions
As I dissolve in the hustle of the day.
And imperceptibly an expectation of a miracle
Fills in my heart beyond my will.