Nikolay Alekseyevich Nekrasov

(1821 - 1878 / Russia)

What The Sleepless Grandam Thinks


All through the cold night, beating wings shadowy
Sweep o'er the church-village poor,--
Only one Grandam a hundred years hoary,
Findeth her slumber no more.

Harkens, if cocks to the dawn be not crowing,
Rolls on her oven and weeps,
Sees all her past rising up to confront her--
O'er her soul shameful it creeps!

'Woe to me sinner old! Woe! Once I cheated--
When from the church door I ran,
And in the depths of the forest strayed hidden
With my beloved Ivan.

'Woe to me! Burning in hell's leaping fires
Surely will soon be my soul!
I took a pair of eggs once at a neighbor's--
Out from her hen--yes, I stole!

'Once at the harvest at home I did linger--
Swore I was deadly sick,--when
Taking my part in the drunken carousals
Saturday night with the men!

'Light was I ever with soldiers! Yet cursing
God's name, when from me at last,--
My own son they took for a soldier!
Even drank cream on a fast.

'Woe to me sinner! Woe to me wretched one!
Woe! My heart broken will be!
Holy Madonna, have pity, have mercy!
Into court go not with me!'

Submitted: Monday, April 19, 2010

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