Dmitri’s Last Poem in Human Form [Translated by “Peter”]

I ran through the dense forest,
I ran through the thick grove,
Looked up at the sky, sighed,
And remembered my native home.

– Russian Folksong,
Sung by Anna Petrovna, Solovyovo.

Saturday, 13 October 1945The Evening Standard and General reports that eminent professor in the Art and Science of Fire and Sleep, “Dmitri”, has been found – “considerably more dead than usual” in his Study Room and Planetarium at the Academy of Pyrology and Dreams, which is situated alternately in London, New York, Paris, Brussels, France and Russia (at various times). Famed mostly for his study of “living objects” and his criticism of “Wake-Theory”, Dmitri was popular with Scholars and Prostitutes alike, and earned a reputation for the unusual typography and lavish binding of his mostly nonsensical publications.

Precisely almost half an hour or so after the discovery of the body, a visiting latrine salesman reported seeing an unusually large and sad-looking dog escape through an unusually small gap in the Academy gates. Security personnel to this day maintain that they saw nothing of the sort, and that they are in no way responsible for the floods that plague inhabitants of the village of Solovyovo, about 300 miles north of Moscow, which, according to local legend, are the accumulated tears of a weeping panther God.

Conspiracy theories abound that Dmitri was spotted teaching at a rival institution, the University of Waking and Light.

Apparently before Dmitri had left us, he wrote a poem. Each line was hidden in a different place in his study, and Dmitri’s apprentice, Jim “The American”, took it upon himself to piece them together and approximate what the complete poem may have looked like. It was then my great honour to translate the poem from the original Russian, using Google Language Tools. The outcome, I’m sure you will agree, is delightfully mangled, and is not even a shadow of the original. This “Translator” could not be more satisfied. The poem is reproduced below.

The Mouse

My friend is in for a slow death –
a little one.

The sum of all parts –
this house and
its clock.
Of its two residents;
it is the rodent
who will die today.

I will celebrate
by starving on cake.

‘Til three o’clock
I’ll recite my lessons.

They’ll be some missing time
and then…
in the evening;
“Come hither, little mouse”
you loveable runt;

You joke too much!
You are no comfort.

You steal my food
and would make
a poor blanket.

You are not the friend
you presume to be.

Life has deserted me
with orders to live!
Given my orders,
I’m out on my ear,
listening to the ground,
where there grows no music.

How can you dance,
Where there is no tune?

When I’m outside,
I find pieces of clockwork,
and yet none of them
can rotate the hands.

As you did your rounds
you collected dust;

like a sleepy milkman
in a small village.

My weary friend,
who can finally dream,
it is you
who will die –

I, myself,
have other plans.

Dmitri The Man
Dmitri The Dog


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