Five Days and Nights

We present this work in honor of the 50th anniversary of the poet’s death.

Vera Inber
1890 – 1972


(on the death of Lenin)

Before they closed him in the tomb
lost to the light of day,
five days and nights stretcht in the room
of pillars still he lay.

The people filed in an endless train
with flags borne low at rest
to see his sallowing profile again
and the medal red on his chest.

And over the earth that he’d forsaken
so fierce a frost held sway
it seemed that he had surely taken
part of our warmth away.

Five nights in Moscow no one slept
because to sleep he had gone.
Close watch the sentinel moon kept,
solemn and wan.

Translation by Jack Lindsay

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