Alexander Blok: The Factory

The house next door has yellow windows.
In the evening, in the evening
Its pensive bolts screech in their hinges,
And people to its gates come streaming.
The gates are shut to hold them back,
And on the wall, and on the wall,
Someone unmoving, someone black
Counts people in the silent pall.
From high above, I hear each sound—
He calls out in a brassy tone
For all those gathered in the crowd
To bend their crippled backs again.
They will come in, fan out, and then
Heave fardels on their backs once more,
And in the yellow windows, men
Will laugh: what fools these beggars are.

Translated by Max Thompson


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