The end of the Belle Époque – Joseph Brodsky

Because the art of poetry requires words,
I am one of the deaf, bald, gloomy ambassadors
second-rate power, contacted this, —
not wanting to rape your own brain,
feeding himself clothes, go down to the kiosk
for the evening newspaper.

The wind blows the foliage. Old light bulbs dim glow
in these sad lands, whose epigraph is the victory of mirrors,
with the assistance of puddles, gives rise to the effect of abundance.
Even thieves steal an orange, amalgam scraping.
However, feeling, with whom you look at yourself, —
I forgot this feeling.

In these sad lands everything is designed for winter: dreams,
prison walls, coat; brides toilets - whites
new year, beverages, seconds hands.
Sparrow sweatshirts and dirt by the number of alkalis;
puritanical customs. Underwear. And in the hands of violinists -
wooden heating pads.

This land is immovable. Presenting the gross volume
cast iron and lead, shaking your head stunned,
remember the old power on bayonets and Cossack whips.
But the eagles sit down, like a magnet, for iron mixture.
Even the wicker chairs are kept here
on bolts and nuts.

Only fish in the seas know the value of freedom; but their
dumbness forces us, as it were, to create our
labels and cash registers. And the space sticks out like a price list.
Time created by death. Needing bodies and things,
it looks for the properties of both in raw vegetables.
Cochet hears the chimes.

Live in the age of accomplishment, having a high disposition,
Unfortunately, hard. Beautiful woman's dress pulled up,
see that, what was looking for, not new wondrous divas.
And it's not that Lobachevsky is firmly observed here,
but the widened world must be narrowing somewhere, and here -
here is the end of perspective.

Either the map of Europe was stolen by agents of the authorities,
either five sixths of the remaining parts in the world
too far. Or some kind fairy
spells over me, but I can't run from here.
I pour myself Cahors - do not shout to the servant -
to peel a coffee…

Or a bullet in the temple, as if a finger was wrong,
or to pull from here on the sea with the new Christ.
And how not to mix with drunken eyes, stunned by frost,
a steam locomotive with a ship - you still won't burn out with shame:
like a boat on the water, will not leave a trace on the rails
steam locomotive wheel.

What do they write in the newspapers in the section "From the courtroom"?
The verdict is enforced. Taking a look here,
the man in the street will see through tin-rimmed glasses,
how a person lies face down against a brick wall;
but does not sleep. For to disdain kumpol dreams
perforated has the right.

The vigilance of this era is rooted in those
time, incapable in their general blindness
to distinguish dropped from cradles from dropped cradles.
The white-eyed eccentric does not want to look beyond death.
Pity, saucer full, just no one to turn the table with,
to ask you, Rurik.

The vigilance of these times is vigilance to the things of the dead end.
Not on a tree the mind has spread to spread while,
but spitting on the wall. And do not wake the prince - a dinosaur.
For the last line, original, do not pluck a feather from a bird.
The innocent head of all and deeds, what to wait for an ax
yes green laurel.

December 1969

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