They tell me, shaking their heads:
by Yevgeny Yevtushenko
'You should be kinder... You are somehow-furious.'
I used to be kind. It didn’t last long.
Life was breaking me hitting me in the teeth.
I lived like a silly puppy.
They would hit me- and again I would turn the other cheek.
I’d wag my tail of complacency,
and then, to make me furious,
someone chopped it off with a single blow.
And now I will tell you about fury,
about that fury with which you go to a party
and make polite conversation
while dropping sugar into your tea with tongs.
And when you offer me more tea
I’m not bored- I merely study you.
I submissively drink my tea from the saucer,
and, hiding my claws, stretch out my hand.
And I’ll tell you something else about fury.
When before the meeting they whisper:
'Give it up...
You’re young, better you write,
don’t jump into a fight for a while...'
Like hell I’ll give in!
To be furious at falsehood- is real goodness!
I’m warning you- that fury hasn’t left me yet.
And you ought to know- I’ll stay infuriated for a long time.
There’s none of my former shyness left in me.
After all- life is interesting when you’re furious!
Translated by Tina Tupikina-Glaessner, Geoffrey Dutton, and Igor Mezhakoff-Koriakin (revised)