Larissa Shmailo
New Life 3 (A Magpie Translation of Joseph Brodsky)

Imagine that the war is over, that peace has reigned,
That you can look at your face in the mirror again.
That magpies, not bombs, whistle down upon your head
That outside the city, homes are not destroyed-instead
A baroque burst of laurels, palms, magnolia, pine;
Instead of red gunfire a white hot Venus shines
That war’s forged cast-iron swamp is gone, and then
The boredom is over: Life has to start again.

Imagine that the epoch ends in an idyl. The words that came
In monologues are dialogues now. And the flame,
That consumed others better than you, greedily, like logs;
In you it saw little use or warmth, and, like the dogs,
That’s why you were spared, why shrapnel cut only your fear
Imagine that the more honest the voice, the less it has tears.
And when any Polyphemus asks you who it is that speaks.
“Say, Who, me? No one” like Odysseus the Greek.

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