Happiness has no memory -
you just can't find it!
I checked it yesterday And years ago.
The slightest sorrow leaves a scar behind it.
But happiness, which has no memory -
It's like the air - we know it's there, and breathe it;
It's natural, like sunshine, and like air;
And that is why its memory dies with it,
And we for troubles never are prepared.
When you have happiness
no words are needed-
It's like your heart-its place is in your breast;
Until it's pierced by pain, you never heed it,
You think you'll live
for centuries at least.
You wonder at my smiles?
No tears of anguish?
My lack of haste to bid this world farewell?
There is no pain on earth I cannot vanquish-
And as for insults, they can go to hell.
Give up my happiness which has no memory?
We are systole and diastole,
Two in one.
No insults or misfortunes
My happiness and me - it simply can't be done.
Miсhail Lukonin (1928-1976), Russia. Воrn and brought up in Stalingrad, on leaving school he worked at the tractor plant from 1931, then joined the staff of the city's Komsomol youth newspaper. He went to a teachers' training college and from 1937 to 1941 studied at the Lite-rary Institute in Moscow. With a volunteer battalion of skiers he took part in the Soviet-Finnish War. During the Second World War he was a war correspondent for an army newspaper. His first book of verse, Heartbeat, appeared in 1947. The author of many books of verse, he was a USSR State Prize winner.
Translated by Louis Zellikoff