The russian soul


Oh, foreigners, your vanity to see the world around
Brings you to that distant soil, which name unites
The East and West, the North and South,
Where you prefer to see the famous sights.

The contrasts here are extremely vast:
Two cultures and two worlds, two races
Have collided. The future and the past
Shake hands and aren’t like other places.

In vain you seek for European features
Or trends of Asia. Other teachers
Have their followers and their ways
That were always strange and also nowadays.

You cannot conquer us; you’ve got a chance
To love or hate, accept or not,
And if you seem to be the winners once,
Then it’s a false idea that you’ve caught.

By train and plane, by car and ship
You try to cover country distances,
But I assure you: It’s only a slip
And there’s enough material for instances.

If you do want to see my country,
Do walk on foot and don’t hurry
And then perhaps you’ll have a chance
To peep into the Russian soul once.

But do you want to feel it and what for?
For slight experience or just to say: «I saw»,
Be it a fancy or a dream or other wise,
Please, take a piece of good advice:

Do be attentive and you’ll mark
The joy at sunrise and the grief at getting dark,
The joy at childish smiles, the grief at parents’ death,
So similar to other parts of earth.

The Russian soul is unfeigned and modest,
Sometimes na;ve and often honest.
It can be weak, it can be strong.
D’you want to grasp it? – You may be wrong!