Nikolay Zabolotsky

The Wedding

A long ray gushes through the windows,
The mighty house stands in gloom.
The fire stretches out, hot
And sparkling in a stone shirt.
The kitchen blazes with a marvelous heat.
There is a reason why today
Loaves, tarts, and rum cakes ripen there
Like golden draft-horses.
There a meat pie coquettishly
Shines like the heart of life.
Above it, a chick, washed blue,
Curses its childhood.
He closed his tiny childish eyes,
Wrinkled his multicolored brow
And lay down his little sleeping body
In a porcelain serving grave.
A priest didn't bellow a mass over him,
Swinging a cross in the air,
The cuckoo didn't sing to him
Its insidious song:
In cabbage armor he was bound,
And in tomatoes he was dressed,
A slender celery stalk
Bent over him like a cross.
So he perished at his prime,
A worthless dwarf among men.

The clock tolls. Night falls.
In the dining hall the ardent feast burns.
The pitcher of wine cannot
Rest its burning head.
A large herd of meaty women
Sits around, brilliantly feathered,
And a balding ermine halo
Crowns their breasts, fattened
With the sweat of hundred-year-old queens.
They eat rich confections,
Wheeze in unquenched passion
And, slackening their bellies,
Press close to their plates and flowers.
Their straight bald husbands
Sit like gunshots,
Barely stretching out their necks
Through greasy slices of flesh.
And breaking through the crystal
Intricately single-toned,
Like the dream of a happy land,
A moral soars on little wings.

Oh, divine bird, where is your shame?
And how does it add to your honor
That the groom is welded to the bride
And has forgotten the sound of hooves?
His mobile face
Still bears traces of the wedding wreath,
The golden ring on his finger
Shines with a bold air,
And the priest, witness of all nights,
Spreading his beard like a visor,
Sits like a tower before the ball
With a large guitar on his shoulder.

So play, guitar! Widen the circle!
The enormous wineglasses roar.
And the priest starts up, howls and suddenly
Strikes the golden strings.
And lifting a final glass
To the iron thunder of the guitar,
The frenzied partners rush
Into the naked abyss of mirrors.
And after them, amidst the gardens,
Half-witted from bellowing,
The huge house, shaking its buttocks,
Flies into existence's void.
While out there is the threatening sleep of silence,
The graying legions of factories,
And above the encampments of nations-
The law of labor and creative work.

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