Home > Uncategorized > Mikhail Lermontov: Still you’re fighting: Why, what for?

Mikhail Lermontov: Still you’re fighting: Why, what for?

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Russian writers on war

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Mikhail Lermontov
From Valerik (1840)
Translator unknown

images

The fight was over. All was still.
The bodies made a grisly hill.
Blood trickled from them, steaming, smoking…
“Just tell me, my kunak,
What do they call this little river?”
“They call it Valerik”, he said,
“Which means The River of the Dead.
Those who named it are in Heaven…”
Then someone else’s voice I heard,
“This day is for the war decisive”.
I caught the mountaineer’s glance derisive.
He grinned but did not say a word.
And there I was; my heart so pained with pity.
I thought: “Poor man, what are you after?
The sky’s so blue. The world so endless.
And still you’re fighting: Why, what for?!”

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