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  • Modern Russian Poetry. 1967

The Worker


There he stands before the red-hot furnace,
Just a small old man — (not much in size),
And the way his red eyelids keep blinking
Gives a humble air to his calm eyes.

All his friends have gone to sleep, and only
He is still awake — earning his worth,
Busy with his work casting the bullet
Which will separate me from the earth.

Now he’s finished and his eyes grow lighter.
He is going home. The moon shines dim.
At his house his wife is warm and sleepy.
Waiting in a big bed there for him.

And the bullet he has made will whistle
Over the Dvina — gray-haired with foam.
Seeking out my heart, that very bullet
Cast by him will come and find its home.

Then I shall fall down in mortal anguish,
I shall see the truth of my life pass.
And my blood will gush out like a fountain
On the dry, dusty and trampled grass.

And the Lord will pay me full measure
For my brief and bitter lifetime span.
This is what a small old man in light-gray
Blouse has worked and done, — A small old man.

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