The Factory (Фабрика), Alexander Blok

Blok in 1903
Blok in 1903

This was written in 1903, three years before Gorky’s Mother. Blok was ultimately disenchanted with the Revolution, but there is little doubt that he had a finely developed social conscience.

Next door the windows are stained yellow.
And all night long, and all night long
The pensive bolts both screech and bellow,
And at the gates the workers throng.

And heedless gates are locked remaining,
And on the wall, and on the wall
Unplacid shady figure’s craning
And counting, one by one, them all.

Above it all I hear him clearly:
His voice with copper clang’s aglow,
Get on with it, he shouts severely
To gathered masses down below.

And as they enter then they scatter,
And take their loads on backs again.
For those above it’s laughing matter,
For beggars down there fools remain.


В соседнем доме окна жолты.
По вечерам – по вечерам
Скрипят задумчивые болты,
Подходят люди к воротам.

И глухо заперты ворота,
А на стене – а на стене
Недвижный кто-то, черный кто-то
Людей считает в тишине.

Я слышу всё с моей вершины:
Он медным голосом зовет
Согнуть измученные спины
Внизу собравшийся народ.

Они войдут и разбредутся,
Навалят на спины кули.
И в жолтых окнах засмеются,
Что этих нищих провели.

Translation by Rupert Moreton

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