Autumn, 1941 (Осень 41 года), Dmitri Kedrin

By Source, Fair use,

Dmitri Borisovich Kedrin (1907-1945) was killed by a train. He thus belongs to a long list of Soviet poets whose premature deaths may or may not have been accidental.

This poem, written in August 1941, captures the anxiety as the war with Germany began.

The sunlight’s warmth still glows on living creatures,
The butterflies still dance in summer’s breath,
And women shine with all their beauty’s features,
Like roses steeped in spirit, held in death.

The days race by, however – brief is August.
And as I watch I see in dewy tears
A fever spot upon the women’s faces –
An autumn blotch on rose leaf now appears.

Ah, autumn, parsimonious heir of summer!
So quick to rake the gold the wind has made.
It isn’t any wonder that the sun is
In headlong rush to die as roses fade.

The women, who beseech with eyes’ caresses –
A prescient gaze that lowers not its cast –
Can only now submit to thought that presses:
This autumn can but only be our last!


Еще и солнце греет что есть силы,
И бабочки трепещут на лету,
И женщины взволнованно красивы,
Как розы, постоявшие в спирту.

Но мчатся дни. Проходит август краткий.
И мне видны отчетливо до слез
На лицах женщин пятна лихорадки —
Отметки осени на листьях роз.

Ах, осень, лета скаредный наследник!
Она в кулак готова всё сгрести.
Недаром солнце этих дней последних
Спешит дожечь, и розы — доцвести.

А женщины, что взглядом ласки просят,
Не опуская обреченных глаз,—
Предчувствуют, что, верно, эта осень
Окажется последней и для нас!

Translation by Rupert Moreton

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