Above the restaurants, at night,
The deaf and wild air abounds,
The putrid springtime soul presides
Over the drunkards’ screams and shouts.
Beyond the dusty countryside
And dachas, out of boredom, sleeping,
The baker’s golden pretzel shines
And one can hear a child weeping.
Each night, beyond the lifting gates,
With bowler hats worn to the side,
The wise-guys stroll with pretty dates
Along the ditches, through the night.
Some woman’s loud squeal resounds,
The rowlocks screech above the lake,
While in the sky, amidst the clouds,
The pointless crescent glows opaque.
And in my glass, as evening sinks,
My one and only friend’s reflected
And with the strange, astringent drink,
Like me, he’s humbled and dejected.
The restless lackeys, out of habit,
Sit in the tables, next to us,
The drunkards, with the eyes of rabbits,
Proclaim: “In vino veritas!”
And at a certain hour, nightly,
(Or am I dreaming, in a daze?)
A woman’s figure walks by lightly,
Outside the window, through the haze.
Among the drunks, all on her own,
She slowly crosses through the room,
And by the window sits, alone,
Exuding mist and sweet perfume.
An air of something old and grand
Surrounds her presence in the room,
The bracelets on her skinny hand,
Her hat adorned with mourning plumes.
I can’t resist it any more,
Entranced, my feelings now prevail,
I see a long, enchanted shore
And spreading valleys through her veil.
Deep secrets are revealed and told,
And someone’s sun is in my hands,
And all the corners of my soul,
Are pierced with wine that never ends.
The ostrich tail feathers rise,
And madly sway inside my head,
And someone’s blue, unending eyes
Are blooming in a distant land.
A treasure’s buried deep inside
My soul, and now, the key is mine!
Hey, drunken creatures, you were right!
I know: the truth is in the wine.
April 24, 1906
By Alexander Blok
Translation by Andrey Kneller