Featured Poem

Hurriedly, in Premature Celebration...


The roses bloom! Oh this is Paradise!
And we shall see the infant Christ!

– Andersen, ‘The Snow Queen’

     1

Hurriedly, in premature celebration,
the little boy bursts again from the crowd
and says, once more: ‘But the king isn’t wearing...’

then he clams up,
as he sees
that not only the king,
but all his retinue

(the ministers, Life Guards, ladies-in-waiting,
even the two con-men tailors themselves...)

are all naked!
All of them literally
in their birthday suits!

He spins in confusion
back to the gathered crowd
and beholds only naked bodies,
the denuded
woeful flesh of humanity.

And now, confused and fearful,
he senses his own naked,
goose-fleshed, bluish,
little boy’s skin,

and sees leafless trees in the distance,
sees how the forest has been stripped,
how the fields are bare,
how the naked earth is a desert

and winter is on its way...

Now who, who will wrap us up warm,
us, who have been stripped of everything?
Who, who will protect us,
the little naked soldiers
of a naked king?

     2

For our leader is bare,
and his queen is the snow queen;
darkness and impenetrable snow!
And as for standing against him:
ay, ay, ay!

Oh dear. Oh wow.
Go and lie in the snow.

Make your mind up,
silly little Kay.

Run along now,
stupid little Gerda.

There, ahead of you:
the kingdom of death.

There, behind you:
the roses are blooming.

Well, maybe they’re not...
Maybe they’ve withered...
So what?

You’ll find out soon enough.
If you can get that far.


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About the translation:
» Read translator's notes
Poet:
TIMUR KIBIROV
Translator:
JAMES WOMACK
Original language:
Russian
Issue:
2017 Number 3 - War of the Beasts and the Animals

About the author

Original poet

TIMUR KIBIROV

TIMUR KIBIROV (1955– ) became famous as an underground poet in the late 1980s and has only been published openly since the 199...

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Translator

JAMES WOMACK

JAMES WOMACK is a translator from Russian and Spanish. His selection from Vladimir Mayakovsky ‘Vladimir Mayakovsky’ And Other...

» Read more

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