Mind Over Matter

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72 assorted poems in English by a Russian

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On Time and Timeproof Matters

Of all time measure units

Day is one true:

The rest are merely conventions

To human counting due.

The morning, noon, then evening, night,

Then dawn again — that’s always right:

There’s never other cycle —

A change unchangeable like a …

Like what, indeed? Like what?


Future’s horizon

We never reach

Stuck in the Present

And our memories

Future’s the cradle

Of our dreams

We’re freer there

Than we can be

By Past, in the Present, for Future we live:

What due to, what in and what for;

Past is the one which

We so quickly enrich,

Present’s a fiction,

Future, we miss and put off


Believe the Time Inside about its speed

For it’s the other one that cheats:

The one we check by glancing at a clock,

The one whose pace we take in as a shock.


The river flows,

The sunset glows,

The wind, forsaken, freely blows,

My timer quicker and quicker slows

And soon comes to a stand;

The heat still beats,

My pulse still reads,

I peacefully wonder where it leads


A rainy, rainy, rainy day

A good old chess game left to play…

I wish the day would stay

And I would play

Lifetimes away…


Time wears not

But it makes one wear

Some find it cruel

Some find it fair


Citified and City-free

Civilization of sleepwalkers,

Civilization of small talkers —

That’s who we are,

That’s today’s broad karma!

That’s where we would end up webbed

But few first years having kept

At curb, in sweet deceit,

In which I would have rather leapt

Once and for all, again,

To never wake up to the realm

Of those who sleep when walking,

Of those nothingtalking.


Everybody knows what it’s all about,

Nobody knows what for:

Hi-smi-ling and signing

And politely dining

Then feeling incredibly bored…

Nobody relates

To my diving today

In a cold mountain lake.


Too many people close about

Make a crowd.

Moscow’s endowed with it, no doubt:

We abound,

We are all around

Whom have we found?

No one to be the One,

No sooth to be the Truth,

No win worth having won,

No fighting nail and tooth.

Too many people, not too many friends —

A common big places’ notable trend,

To lonely homes the way to wend,

Away from small places, from which we were rent.

Too many things that are currently on —

The shows — why not — might indeed go on

So all our talks are of shows we’ve seen

And just city places, to which we have been.

You write to your province friends of this waterspout

But there’s nothing you feel worth writing about —

To them, that all is city talk,

Which we ill-strenuously balk.

Too many people close about

No place to stay out

You are alone

But not quite your own

You are quite single

But you have to mingle…

Time gets by —

Hard to ask it why —

And you are just a slice

Of one big apple-pie.

Too many people for so few places

Homes to mad and futile races

For better and better stuff and gadgets to have

But everyone needs somebody to love.

Too many people close about

Make a crowd

But no-one’s as close to thee

As you would want him to be.

We abound,

We are all around —

Whom have we found?


Lots of people, little space:

One hot dirty endless race,

One for pleasure, leisure, place,

One immeasurable craze.

Lots of people, little space:

All big cities are a race…

One must really be small

To fit in it with us all



We are some of the first of those

Who have had their first nice dose

Of computerized communication:

A dose of comPunication.

        Why meet

        If you can have your seat

        In your place

        While I can in mine

        And still communicate?

There’s the web, the phone, the personal page,

The social network, there’s all the rage

So let’s comPuniCage!

        It’s neat

        For you can have your seat

        In your nameless city

        And I can in mine

        Grab the keyboard, hit it!

Sorry, my e-friend, I didn’t know

That you by this time have grown so old

I haven’t logged out for twenty-five years

I’ve always been near, e-near.

        But then again…

        Why meet

        If you can get old in your place

        And I can in mine

        And still get old, get old, get old


Undo! Undo! Undo the changes!


If in a place of many

You don’t have a penny

The many around you won’t probably help:

Life ain’t so sunny

Where everyone’s running

For nothing but money.

It cannot be helped.


Deep, very deep in the taiga forest

Where the beautiful fir-tree grows

A squat plain log-built loner’s cottage

Stands in the thick of the grove.

The ski-path meandering endlessly through

The realm of the evergreen muffled with snow

Brings me to the hut not really soon —

I’ve come here to spend time alone.

Cold and tired but happy and hopeful

I stoke up the oven and unpack the victuals.

The sky is starry, the flame is joyful,

Life seems so suddenly simple.


Don’t talk to me

The way the talk should be,

Talk to me free,

Don’t sing to me,

For all I want from thee

Is just sincerity.

So don’t talk to me

Like they talk on TV,

Don’t quarrel with me

Like they do in the movies,

But do it sincerely,

Do it upfront,

Do it so thoroughly

I am right away stunned;

Don’t do it right,

But do it your way,

Do it at night

And during the day.

Don’t talk to me

The way the talk should be,

Talk to me free.



A long steel rail

That we all have seen

With its maddening steadiness

And its lamp-side sheen

Carries on carrying us

To the places we’ve been

Helping to go back

To the pasts long gone…

Some nice, some lived irreversibly wrong.

People who live there

Live on in our past

Which seems to be bound

To always last.


The subject can be narrow or broad:

It ranges from ‘lapel’ to ‘Lord’,

It may be quite a panorama

But here’s today’s communication drama:

It’s never deep however broad:

We listen but we soon get bored.

Recurring to computers, TV, books,

Indulging in embellishing our looks,

We shallower soon become,

To coreless, flashy life succumbed.



When Russia was said to have been sold

I wasn’t sold on that:

The heart of this country is inert to gold,

The song is infinitely sad.


One hundred yards they sleep underneath

The stormy chest of the Barents Sea

In an iron, iron black submarine

Day after day into eternity…

Penned captain-lieutenant, ‘We’re twenty-three’…

…‘we’ll be twenty-three and here we’ll be’…


I will see a whole world

But everywhere I go

I will see the sky above

Now high and now low

I will breathe the air

Everywhere I go

I will be myself

Whatever I may know.


That’s Russia

You will never translate it into your own language

So let me talk to you in your own tongue.

I’ve been living here for many a year

Couldn’t help looking here at many a thing

Seen many a foreigner in and to this country

Foreigners by passport and foreigners convinced

Strangers changing attitudes by seconds

Strangers largely to themselves

Many a madman have I seen too

Many who died to know what to do

Many a bright head locked in a madhouse

Many a sage man, many obtuse

Many a small man saying Russia is great

Many in love with it, many in hate

Many who added they can’t understand it

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