General Letter Z.

“War, Your Highness, Let the game.
Today - good luck, and tomorrow - hole…”
Song of the siege of La Rochelle

General! Our cards - shit. I pass.
North is not here, but in the Arctic Circle.
And the equator is wider, than your stripes.
Because the front, Gen., on South.
At this distance, any order
It is converted into a walkie boogie.

General! Jumble turned into a mess.
The roads will not take reserves
and linen change: sheet - emery;
this, you know, It gets on my nerves.
Never until now, I guess, So
It was not dirtied the altar of Minerva.

General! We have been sitting in the dirt,
that the King of Hearts in advance cheers,
and the cuckoo is silent. forbid,
however, we hear, she cuckoo.
I believe, I must say merci,
that the enemy does not attack.

Our guns buried their trunks down,
core softened. Odni gornisty,
drawing from his pipe
covers, As an avid masturbators,
drayut them for days because, that suddenly
are tricked out sound.

officers roam, defying statutes,
in jodhpurs and tunics of different suits.
Active in the bushes in the dry places
given over each other filthy passion,
and blush, puntsovыy pulls banner,
our sergeant bachelor.


General! I always fought, everywhere,
no matter how the odds are small and shaky.
I did not need another star,
except that, that you have on the cap.
But now I'm in a fairy tale about a nail:
driven into the wall, devoid of hats.

General! Unfortunately, there is only one life.
So as not to look for evidence vyaschih,
we have to drink to the dregs
his bowl into these humble thickets:
a life, probably, not so long,
to postpone the worst indefinitely.

General! Only souls need body.
g people, known, alien malevolence,
and here we, I think, has got
not even a strategy, but the thirst for fraternity:
better meddle in other people's affairs,
if we do not in their understanding.

General! And now I - jitters.
I do not understand, from what: shame eh, fear eh?
From the lack of ladies? Or just - whim?
It does not help the doctor, or witch doctor.
Because of this, probably, that cook your
not razbiraet, where salt, where sugar.

General! I'm afraid, we have reached an impasse.
This - the revenge of the space oblique fathoms.
Our peaks rust. The presence of a peak –
this is not a pledge target.
And do not move us beyond our shadow
even in the hour of sunset.


General! You know, I'm not a coward.
Remove the dossier, make inquiries.
By the pool, I care about. A plus
I am not afraid of any enemy, any rate.
Let me Prilep ace of diamonds
between the shoulder blades - please resignation!

I do not want to die for
two or three kings, which
I have never seen in the eyes
(Case not in Shore A., but in the dusty curtains).
However, and live for them, too, I
reluctance. Doubly.

General! I'm sick of it all. To me
boring crusade. I boring
kind of frozen in my window
mountains, copses, meander.
poorly, if the world outside
I studied the, who exhausted within.

General! I do not think, that the series
yours left, I loosen them.
This will not be big trouble:
I'm not a soloist, but I am a stranger to the ensemble.
Removing the mouthpiece from its Duda,
ZhSU his uniform and saber break.


Birds can not see, but they heard.
Sniper, languishing of the spiritual thirst,
either order, the letter l wife,
sitting on a branch, reads double,
and takes our artist from boredom
gun on a pencil.

General! Only time will appreciate you,
your Cannes, flushes, check, kohortы.
The academies will go into ecstasy;
your battles and still lifes
will serve to expand the eye,
views of the world and all of the aorta.

General! I must tell you, what do you
like the winged lion at the entrance
in a staircase. for you, Alas,
There is not general in nature.
No, Not that you're dead
or bits - you do not have in your deck.

General! Let me give on trial!
I want you to familiarize with the case:
suffering sum is absurd;
let's absurd has a body!
And yes it looms vessel
something black on something white.

General, I tell you one more:
General! I took you for the rhyme to the word
"Dying" - that happened to me, but
God until the end of the grain from the chaff
not separated, and now it
consumed - lies.


a vacant lot, where lit in the night
two lanterns and rotting cars,
half off her outfit
removing the jester and tore epaulettes,
I stop the motion, encountering glance
Camera leucyl or Gorgon Eye.

Night. My thoughts are full of one
a woman, odd inside and profile.
the, what is happening now with me,
below the heavens, but above the roofs.
the, what is happening to me now!,
offends you.


General! you do not have, and my speech
faces, as usual, now
into the void, chyi end - the end
some extensive, dull desert,
way on maps, you and I
could see, not even in sight.

General! If you still have
hear, means, desert hides
some oasis in itself, enticing
this rider; and the rider, means,
I; I pryshporyvayu horse;
horse, Gen., will not jump.

General! Always fought like a lion,
I will leave a stain on the flag.
General, even a house of cards - barn.
I write you a report, accounted for flasks.
For survivors of the great bluff
life leaves a piece of paper.

fall 1968

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Joseph Brodsky
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