On a Dark-Blue December Morning

On a dark-blue December morning
We leave the warmth of our homes
And go out silently into the frost.
The wooden kiosk is covered with ice,
Steam rises steeply into the sky.
A damp shudder runs through the trees
And you, my lovely friend, are wide awake
Rubbing your cheeks with your mitten

Snow fell last night. People are scraping it away,
Some gently, others more busily.
Drowsy kiddies, warmly wrapped,
Are carried past in tears.

How unlike a pleasant stroll
Are these excursions towards the river!
In the dark narrow streets
We shiver in the Leningrad draft.

And I, in my usual dogged way,
Try to restore their beauty to
The houses, the indifferent squares,
And the pedestrian on the bridge.
Deliberately I miss my bus,
And freeze now, stranded in the snow.
But I cannot live until
I’ve learnt how this trick is done.

-Aleksandr Kushner

 

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