Translated by Anton Tenser, Alex Spektor and Danya Cherkasky

Во мгле хрипят червивые цыгане
И нашатырно пахнет от мездры.
Заросшими веревкой утюгами
Переступают мертвые одры.
Трещат огни холерного обоза,
Визжит петух в селении на дне.

Не та дорога и не эта роза
– Не от меня. Не я. И не ко мне –

По узким кромкам складчатого мрака
Под уголки обугленных ворот
Кружат коней цыганка и собака –
Всегда наверх и никогда вперед.

Мне табаку до осени не хватит.
Я не хочу их сладкого вина.

Альфонс ложится под короткий катет.
– Не та дорога – и не та луна –

The night is swarming with the decaying Gypsies
The stench of rotten hides infects the road.
With ragged hooves like irons, the wasted horses
Drag up the hill their pestilential load.
The torches crackle as they light the wagons,
The squealing rooster wakes the dale below.

This road is wrong, and wrong again this rose
-It’s not from me. Not I. And not to me –

Past the narrow folds of twisted darkness,
Past the charcoaled backbones of the gates
The Gypsy and the dog propel the horses –
They go around, and up, and never straight.

Tobacco will not last me past the summer.
I do not wish to drink their sweetened wine.

Alphonse prostrates himself beneath the gallows—
This road is wrong – and wrong again this moon.

Oleg Yuriev is a Russian language poet, writer and playwright, born in Leningrad in 1959. During the Soviet times he participated in Leningrad’s unofficial cultural life (the ‘Kamera Khraninia’ group). Starting in the late 1980’s his original works have been published and staged in Russia. He is the author of three collections of poetry, and now lives and writes in Frankfurt.