(Translated, from the Russian, by Paul Schmidt.)
Disaster has fallen on everyone, everywhere;
the presence of death is like night.
Devouring pain has swallowed everything--
Then why do we feel such delight?
Days are heavy with cherry-tree fragrance
Drifting from the orchards nearby;
Nights burn with unknown constellations
In the transparent heavens of July.
And something miraculous materializes
Among the ruins, the rubble, the grime--
Something none of us, none of us recognizes,
But has wanted for a long, long time.
There were three things in life he loved:
Music at Vespers, white peacocks,
And antique maps of America.
He hated children crying
And raspberry jam for tea.
He hated women in hysterics--
And he married me.
I drink to the wreck of our life together,
And the pain of living alone.
I drink to the loneliness we shared--
My dear, I drink to you.
I drink to the trick of a mouth that betrayed me,
To the eyes and the look that lied.
I drink to the terrible world we inhabit
And to God, who never replied.