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The Twelve

The Twelve - Aleksandr Blok

Our sons have gone 
to serve the Reds 
to serve the Reds 
to risk their heads! 

O bitter,bitter pain, 
Sweet living! 
A torn overcoat 
an Austrian gun! 

-To get the bourgeosie 
We'll start a fire 
a worldwide fire, and drench it 
in blood- 
The good Lord bless us! 

-O you bitter bitterness, 
boring boredom, 
deadly boredom. 

This is how I will 
spend my time. 

This is how I will 
scratch my head, 

munch on seeds, 
some sunflower seeds, 

play with my knife 
play with my knife. 

You bourgeosie, fly as a sparrow! 
I'll drink your blood, 

your warm blood, for love, 
for dark-eyed love. 

God, let this soul, your servant, 
rest in peace. 

Such boredom! 

... On they march with sovereign tread... 
‘Who else goes there? Come out! I said 
come out!’ It is the wind and the red 
flag plunging gaily at their head. 

The frozen snow-drift looms in front. 
‘Who’s in the drift! Come out! Come here!’ 
There’s only the homeless mongrel runt 
limping wretchedly in the rear ... 

‘You mangy beast, out of the way 
before you taste my bayonet. 
Old mongrel world, clear off I say! 
I’ll have your hide to sole my boot! 

The shivering cur, the mongrel cur 
bares his teeth like a hungry wolf, 
droops his tail, but does not stir ... 
‘Hey answer, you there, show yourself.’ 

‘Who’s that waving the red flag?’ 
‘Try and see! It’s as dark as the tomb!’ 
‘Who’s that moving at a jog 
trot, keeping to the back-street gloom?’ 

‘Don’t you worry ~ I’ll catch you yet; 
better surrender to me alive!’ 
‘Come out, comrade, or you’ll regret 
it ~ we’ll fire when I’ve counted five!’ 

Crack ~ crack ~ crack! But only the echo 
answers from among the eaves ... 
The blizzard splits his seams, the snow 
laughs wildly up the wirlwind’s sleeve ... 

Crack ~ crack ~ crack! 
Crack ~ crack ~ crack! 
... So they march with sovereign tread ... 
Behind them limps the hungry dog, 
and wrapped in wild snow at their head 
carrying a blood-red flag ~ 
soft-footed where the blizzard swirls, 
invulnerable where bullets crossed ~ 
crowned with a crown of snowflake pearls, 
a flowery diadem of frost, 
ahead of them goes Jesus Christ.