back to Nikolai Gumilev

“The Urchin” by Nikolai Gumilev (1886 – 1921)
Translated by Burton Raffel & Alla Burago
I’ll walk along the tracks,
thinking, following
the thread of the running rails
across the yellow sky, the scarlet sky.
I’ll go to the gloomy
station, shivering—
if the watchmen don’t shout
and chase me off.
And later, determined to remember,
I’ll think—again, again—
of the beautiful lady, and how she looked up,
quickly, as she got into the train.
Proud, distant:
Why should she care if I love her?
But when will I ever see
another lady with eyes so blue!
I’ll tell my friend,
I’ll tease him, a little,
when evening spreads smoke
across the meadow.
And with an ugly smile
he’ll say, “You see?
You read all kinds of junk
and you start to talk like that.”