St. Sofia’s dome caught a ray of light
and glimmered like a lilac bundle.
You tried to reach me you but did not make it
before the first cry, before the first thunder,

as if the buzz of an infernal mill.
All around are shadows, timid, pale.
I bless your arbitrary will,
the path of fate, the path of pain.

Snows and the frost. Winds, icy beams.
Honks and cries. Curses, like shards.
Hounds barking. Steam-locomotives scream.
Trains packed with convicts, and convict-packed cars.

Crossroads and soldiers, spotlights and dogs.
Bars and barbed wire, and small enclosures.
Fell down – now go. Got up – now go.
Machine guns pressing into our shoulders.

A square heart is trapped in a square circle’s rim.
In a deadly quadrille we’ll fall one day.
I bless your arbitrary whim,
the path of fate, the path of pain.

At the crossroads of terror and hate,
with the enlightenment of the last weep,
do not let me disgrace myself,
give an honorable countenance to me.

translated by oksana maksymchuk