Poem on Running

My friend Maya Kucherskaya recently posted a picture of a Russian airport filled with young men trying to leave the country and a poem, which she called a lullaby. This was just after Putin’s announcement regarding the conscription of more soldiers for the war in Ukraine. The poem is based on a lullaby that is well known to multiple generations of Russians (and Ukrainians), about not lying on the edge of the bed (or the stove) lest a little wolf come and take you away. You can find the original on Maya’s Facebook feed.

Here’s my translation (which she agreed to let me post).

Lullaby (prose in verse)

Did we give birth to you, boys,

So you could run away, little rabbits,

To Yerevan, Tel Aviv, Kazakhstan,

Through Omsk or Tver’?

I don’t recall, I do not know,

Where the door hasn’t yet slammed shut.

In our arms we rocked you, little ones,

Kissed your eyes and tiny fingers,

So the little girl beauties would love you

So the beast would not

Drag you off by your side

So milk and honey would flow!

But still you’re on the edge

We had you so you could run away

as fast as you can.


Five o’clock.

Don’t be late now. Bye.


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