As I was growing old and fading,
A poet, used to streaks of grey,
I wanted to postpone the ending
The aged men should face some day.
A sickly man, a puny creature,
I’m looking for a lucky star,
And in my senile dreams I picture
A lovely image, now so far.
Perchance I have forgotten something,
I don’t believe in such a lie.
This tremor has aroused nothing.
I’m neither moved nor touched. Not I!
These old time silly tales and stories
Have fascinated me somehow,
But I’ve been bowed by age and worries,
It’s funny, I am a poet now…
I don’t believe in books and omens
Of silly men of our times!
Damn all those dreams! Damn all those moments
Of my prophetic dogg’rel rhymes!
So here I am, alone and lonely
An angry man, decrepit, sick…
I stretch my hand and with a quandary
Bend down to pick my walking stick…
Whom should I trust? Whom should I doubt?
Those doctors, poets, priests and all…
If only I could join a crowd
And learn to be a trivial soul!
Translated from the Russian by Alec Vagapov