Fyodor Sologub

(1 March 1863 – 5 December 1927 / St. Petersberg)

Devil's Swing


Over the rushing river
Where shaggy fir-trees stand,
The devil himself is pushing
My swing with furry hand.

Pushing, he laughs away,
And up I go,
And down I go,
The seat creaks ominously,
The rope begins to fray,
Rubbing against a bough.

Prolonged the seat-board's creaking,
As up and down it glides.
With wheezy laughter shaking,
The devil holds his sides.

l hang on, swinging, gliding,
As up I go,
And down I go,
Slithering, slipping, sliding,
My dizzy gaze avoiding
The devil down below.

Above the shady fir-tree,
A voice laughs from the blue:
"You've landed on the swing, see! -
Swing, and to hell with you!"

And in the shaggy fir-tree,
A raucous hullabaloo:
"You've landed on the swing, see! -
Swing, and to hell with you!"

The devil will not leave it,
The swing will fly apace
Till with a violent buffet
I'm swept clean off my place,

Until the last few strands
Of hemp snap finally,
Until my native land
Comes flying up at me.

I'll soar above that fir-tree
And bang earth with my head.
So swing the swing on, devil,
Higher, higher... Aah!

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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