Dingo the Dissident

THE BLOG OF DISQUIET : Qweir Notions in the Armpit of Diogenes by DINGO the DISSIDENT binge-thinker since 2008.

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Irina Ratushinskaya : a poem from prison.

Well, we’ll live
as the heart dictates,
and not ask for anything.

To have a dog is impossible,
so I'll tame a mouse.
And he and I will pace about,
read letters in the corner.

He’ll climb into my bed
without wiping his feet.
And if letters suddenly stop —
after all, anything could happen on the way —

he, Mr Grey, then and there
will angrily wrinkle his nose
and then snuggle into my palm:
as if to say, remember, we’re in this together!

No need for us both to take Validol
— better to chew on a crust!
I’ll bring out a squashed heel of bread,
and we’ll regard the world more cheerfully.

He and I will invent a land
where there are neither cats nor camps.
We’ll abolish the cold,
cultivate bananas …
Maybe after our term we’ll be sent there
— though it's more likely
we'll be shipped off to Magadan.

But when I’m taken for transportation
and subjected to the search,
he’ll discreetly tag along behind,
scurry after me wherever I go.

I’ll put him in a secret pocket
so he’ll keep warm while wheels
rumble on rails.
And we’ll share sugar fairly —
ten grams for each nose.
And we'll go wherever the track leads —

for anywhere suits us,
we two old lags,
my long-tailed friend and me.

We’ll make a home beyond* bars,
beyond any frozen February —
beyond any Spring…

And if we are still alive
we’ll definitely get a dog,

when better times arrive.

   — August 8, 1984


Note:  'Behind bars' and 'Beyond bars' are the same in Russian:
за решеткой.

Irina Ratushinskaya was born in Odesa, Ukraine.

More of my translations/adaptations here.


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