Yevgeny Yevtushenko Poems
Tsars, Kings, Emperors,
sovereigns of all the earth,
have commanded many a parade,
but they could not command humor.
When Aesop, the tramp, came visiting
the palaces of eminent personages
ensconced in sleek comfort all day,
they struck him as paupers.
In houses, where hypocrites have
left the smear of their puny feet,
there Hodja-Nasr-ed-Din, with his jests,
swept clean all meanness
like a board of chessmen!
They tried to commission humor-
but humor is not to be bought!
They tried to murder humor,
but humor thumbed his nose at them! ...
No, No! Believe me!
I’ve come to the wrong place!
I’ve made a god-awful mistake! Even the glass
in my hand’s an accident,
and so’s the gauze glance
of the woman who runs the joint.
'Let’s dance, huh?
Didn’t get enough sleep? '