Esenin: It liet fan de hûn

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The Bitch
Translated by Daniel Weissbort

In the morning the bitch whelped
Seven reddish-brown puppies,
In the rye barn where a row
Of bast mats gleamed like gold.
Licking their pelts smooth,
And underneath her, the snow
Melted out in the heat.

But at dusk, when the hens
Were roosting on the perch,
There came the grim-faced master
Who stuffed the pups in a sack.

The bitch bounded alongside him,
Over the snow-deep fields,
And the icy surface of the water
Shuddered a long, long while.

And when at last she struggled home,
Licking the sweat from her sides,
To her the moon above the house
Seemed like one of the pups.

Whimpering loudly she gazed up
Limpidly into the dark,
While over the hill, the slender moon
Slid into the fields beyond.

And softly, as when someone,
Jesting, throws her a stone,
Her tears, like golden stars,
Trickled down into the snow.

1915

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