Russian 20th Century Poetry in English translation


© Д.А.Пригов

The Battle of Kulikovo

I here put all them in place
These--to the right place
And others--to the left
I left all others for the future
The Poles I left for near future
The French I left for distant future
And also Germans for the future

I put my angels everywhere
And put the ravens over here
And other birds put over there
The field presented down here
The battle field is down here

I put the trees all over here
The oak, fir trees over here
And yet some bushes--here and there
The grass will soft be down there
The smallish bugs will crawl there
Let all it be as I perceived
Let all yet live as I conceived
Let all yet die as I conceived

Because they will win today, the Russians
Because they are fine lads, the Russians
And Russian girls are also fine
They suffered so much those Russians
They suffered horrors from non-Russians
So they must win today

What will here happen if this now
The Earth is crumbling here now
And sky is dusty even now
The ores are crumbling underground
The waters whirl in underground
And beasts are running underground
And people are running overground
All to and fro run near ground
And birds are flying over ground
All birds and ravens over ground

But tartars are a little bit nicer
Their names are also a bit nicer
Their voices are all over nicer
And their customs are much nicer
Though Russians are a kind-a neater
But tartars are nicer altogether

So let then tartars win today
I will see everything from here
The tartars shall get their victory...
However--we'll see tomorrow