Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Olga Berggolts: My Home



In the home where I lived many years,
From where I left the winter of the blockade,
A light once again appears in the evening windows.
It is pinkish, festive, elegant. 

Glancing at the three windows that used to be mine,
I remember: the war happened here.
Oh how we darkened, without a ray of hope...
And everything darkened, everything darkened in this world...

Afterwards the owner did not knock on the door,
As though he had forgotten the way back to his own apartment.
Where is he now, absent-mindedly roaming?
What is the last place that gave him shelter? 

No, I do not know who lives there now,
In these rooms where you and I used to live,
Who, in the evenings, knocks on that very door,
Who left the blue wallpaper as it was,
The very same wallpaper that was chosen so long ago...
I recognized it from outside through the window.

The windows’ inviting comfort,
Awaken memories of such bright, forgotten light,
That I believe that kind people live there,
Good, welcoming people.

There are even little children there,
And someone young, who is perpetually in love,
And the postman only brings them happy news,
And only the truest friends come here for noisy holidays.

I want so dearly for someone to be happy,
There, where I suffered immeasurably.

Possess everything that was denied to me,
And all that I gave up for the war...

However, should such a day arrive,
When the tranquil snow and glimmering twilight,
Will light ablaze my blessed memories,
So vividly that I will not resist knocking on the door,
Coming into my home, standing in my threshold,
And asking...well asking, “What time is it?”
Or “Water,” like I did on those roads of war.
If that happens, do not judge me,
Answer me trustingly and compassionately,
After all, I have come here to my home,
And I remember it all and believe in our happiness.

1946

Translated by Andrew Glikin-Gusinsky 

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