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Vadim Shefner


The Gulp

Life is vexingly short like bad fun,
Not for long-terms we are crowned here:                                            
From the gulp of the milk – to the one
Of the medicine mixed with a tear.

But between these two gulps, we are free
To choose things from a set – just for instance:
You may sit at your home, drinking tea,
Or quench thirst from a well at the distance.

If you have the unusual lot,
If horizons – your constant attraction,  
Then your life isn’t such fatally short,
And you needn’t to scold it with such passion. 

Through the wilderness, highlands and sands,
Feared not of strong winds or black clouds,
You had gone from the small riverheads – 
And has come, by degrees, to the mouth.

They are finished – life’s travels and trips…
And you’re drinking not medicine’s portion: 
It is pouring o’er your blazed lips
The acidulous swell of the Ocean.

Translated by Yevgeny Bonver, April, 2001

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