Envy

I envy. This secret
I have not revealed before.
I know there is somewhere a boy
whom I greatly envy.
I envy the way he fights;
I myself was never so guileless and bold.
I envy the way he laughs-
as a boy I could never laugh like that.
He always walks about with bumps and bruises;
I’ve always been better combed, intact.
He will not miss all those passages in books
I’ve missed. Here he is stronger too.
He will be more blunt and harshly honest,
forgiving no evil even if it does some good;
and where I’d dropped my pen: 'It isn’t worth it...'
he’d assert: 'It’s worth it! ' and pick up the pen.
If he can’t unravel a knot, he’ll cut it through,
where I can neither unravel a knot, nor cut it through.
Once he falls in love, he won’t fall out of it,
while I keep falling in and out of love.
I’ll hide my envy. Start to smile.
I’ll pretend to be a simple soul:
'Someone has to smile;
someone has to live in a different way...'
But much as I tried to persuade myself of this,
repeating: 'To each man his fate...'
I can’t forget there is somewhere a boy
who will achieve far more than I.


Translated by George Reavey

by Yevgeny Yevtushenko

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