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This poem is taken from PN Review 193, Volume 36 Number 5, May - June 2010.

Four Poems (translated by Peter Daniels) Vladislav Khodasevich

The Monkey

It was hot. Forests were burning. Time
tediously dragging. At the neighbouring dacha
the cockerel crowed. I went out past the gate.
There, propped against the fence, on the bench,
a vagrant was dozing, a Serb, thin and dark.
A cross of heavy silver hung on his
half-naked chest. Drops of sweat
were rolling down him. Up on the fence
a monkey in a red skirt was sitting
greedily chewing the leaves
of the dusty lilacs. Her leather collar
was pulled back by a heavy chain,
catching her throat. The Serb, hearing me,
woke up, wiped off his sweat and asked me
to give him some water. But he barely sipped it -
...


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