Verse > Anthologies > Deutsch and Yarmolinsky, comps. > Modern Russian Poetry
Deutsch and Yarmolinsky, comps.  Modern Russian Poetry.  1921.
An Izba Song
By Nikolai Kluyev
THE STOVE is orphaned now; the old housewife has died,
The trivet tells the pot with tears; their talk is harried.
Behind the pane two trustful magpies, side by side,
Chirp: “May is near, today the finches will be married,
Smith Woodpecker with busy knocking has stripped his throat,        5
The mole—the sullen miner—creeps sunward, meekly leaving
His tunneled, dark estate to bugs without a groat.
The cranes are homing now, the sparrow, pert and thieving,
Has heard the jackdaw blurt the secret of her egg.”
The tangled mop awaits the bucket, limp and tired.        10
She thinks the unwashed porch for spuming suds must beg.
How gay would be the splash of water, how desired
A windowful of sunray tow,—an endless fairy-tale….
Behind the stove the house-sprite gabbles, quick and clever,
Of the new tenant’s stillness within the churchyard’s pale,        15
Of crosses listening to things nameless forever,
Of how the dark church-entrance lulls the linger dream.
The house-sprite gabbles on above the bleak hour’s starkness.
The peasant-hut is scowling; pewter eye agleam,
The lonely window stares out at the thaw and darkness.        20

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