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Monday, December 04, 2006

Yesenin Speaks Russia's Eternal Truth


“The Back Streets of Moscow”

The farmhouse is lonely without me
And my old dog is gone from the door
God sent me to die in the back streets
And I can't go home anymore.

I'm in love with this overdone city,
Though it's dirty and falling apart;
It reminds me of stories at bedtime,
And the street sounds hurt my heart.

I go out for a fix after midnight,
And the fix that I'm after is fame,
So I head for a bar in the back streets
Where everyone knows my name.

It's noisy and dirty and drunken,
But nobody there drinks alone --
The bartenders buy me a vodka,
And the hookers cry at my poems.

My heart beats faster and faster,
And I say to the drunk by the door --
"I'm like you, my life's a disaster,
And I can't go home any more."

Oh the farmhouse is lonely without me
And my old dog is gone from the door
God sent me to die in the back streets
And I can't go home anymore.

Sergei Yesenin
(Translated from the Russian by Paul Schmidt)
(From page 87 of the December 4, 2006 issue of the New Yorker)

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