(04 October 1943 / Germany)

Russian Recreation

He liked his Sunday afternoons,
only the privileged deserved
the sanctuary of a datsha
out in its splendid isolation.

Hot lava rocks, reflecting heat
of Northern Hemlock panels, grooved,
and twigs of birch, so tightly bundled
to beat the sweating hide, once in a while.

A splash of watery extract of Georgian Pine
onto the rocks, alerting with a rush
the breathing paths of those who rest,
while busy servants bring new buckets,
full of ice, and well-chilled steins with stems
to complement the elixir of life and limb.

Which is, in parts like these, called 'little water',
or Vodka, just to let you know the truth.
A burning skin, dilation at extreme
will still accommodate an afternoon of drink.
It is the Russian way to recharge batteries,
and only the elite is thus rewarded.

by Herbert Nehrlich

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